Letter to the Editor
The Use of Executed Prisoners As a Source of Organ Transplants in China Must Stop
Article first published online: 12 MAY 2011
©2011 The Author Journal compilation©2011 The American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons
American Journal of Transplantation
Volume 11, Issue 6, page 1341, June 2011
How to Cite
Mosimann, F. (2011), The Use of Executed Prisoners As a Source of Organ Transplants in China Must Stop. American Journal of Transplantation, 11: 1341. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2011.03556.x
- Issue published online: 6 JUN 2011
- Article first published online: 12 MAY 2011
- Received 07 March 2011, revised 07 March 2011 and accepted for publication 20 March 2011
To the Editor:
The statement by G.M. Danovitch, M.E. Shapiro and J. Lavee that ‘The use of executed prisoners as a source of organ transplants in China must stop’ (1) cannot be disputed. However, the strategies they suggest to achieve this goal sound like a policeman approach that is unlikely to appeal to Chinese colleagues and politicians amenable to change. Another disturbing point is that the authors forget that Western democracies too, including the United States, used prisoners as ‘donors’ only a few decades ago, thus limiting their moral authority (2–4).
Finally, the authors do not question the legitimacy of the death penalty itself, which may also be regarded as ‘an unacceptable abrogation of human rights’. The worldwide abolition of capital punishment will be the only ‘absolutist approach’ to solve the problem. It follows that a dialogue policy with the Chinese authorities, coupled with campaigns to abolish executions in all countries, including the United States, may eventually prove more fruitful than embargo-like measures.
The author of this manuscript has no conflicts of interest to disclose as described by the American Journal of Transplantation.