British surgeons have blasted both China, for using the organs of executed prisoners in a rapidly expanding human transplant industry, and British nationals for fuelling the horrific trade by becoming 'transplant tourists'.
According to the UK Guardian : "The British Transplantation Society said that 'an accumulating body of evidence suggests that the organs of executed prisoners are being removed for transplantation without the prior consent of either the prisoner or their family'.
"Thousands of organs are thought to be involved in the lucrative trade, it said. Transplant centres, patients, and the Chinese authorities and judiciary could all be implicated in a breach of human rights."
But the rise of transplant tourists is directly related to a massive shortage of available organs in the UK. A problem caused, apparently, by the fact that the death rate of young Brits, from whom viable organs can be 'harvested' has dropped in recent years.
Doctors who have left China have been the main whistleblowers to this bizarre trade, mostly in liver and kidney transplants, and the largest proportion of 'transplant tourists' heading to China for operations appear to be from Japan and Korea. Chinese Americans are also heading back to the homeland for fast, and cheaper, transplant operations than they will get back in the United States.
From the Guardian : "Websites of Chinese transplant centres openly tout in English for business from foreigners...they offer a fast supply - between a week and a maximum of a month for a kidney transplant...The cost of a kidney transplant is put at $62,000 (£34,600), and a heart transplant at $140,000."
One UK professor told BBC Radio that the speed at which patients and 'donor's were matched up suggested to him that Chinese prisoners were being selected for fast execution based on the quality of their organs.
The Chinese government takes the accusations, which only recently belonged to the realm of urban legend, seriously enough to impose a ban from July 1 on "the buying and selling of organs".
The UK Guardian also revealed, in September, 2005, that a Chinese cosmetics company had used skin and flesh harvested from the corpses of executed prisoners in beauty products that were on sale in the wealthier shopping districts of Europe.