October 2, 2007


Chinese Democracy: Could local Falun Gong allegations of organ harvesting become a thorn in Beijing's Olympic crown? (Aisha Sattar, September 26, 2007, Philadelphia City Paper)

When Jeff Kline's mother was diagnosed with end-stage liver cancer in 2003, doctors told her there was nothing they could do. There wasn't time for conventional treatments, and her age and type of cancer made her ineligible for a transplant. At 59, with no hope of getting a new liver, she was given less than two months to live.

But in the course of his work developing Web sites for nonprofits in Philadelphia, Kline came across a human-rights organization that described allegations of organ harvesting in China. Ironically, that site offered Kline hope. Desperate and curious, he went to Beijing, where a hospital initially rejected his plea for an organ donation because he was a foreigner. He returned to the U.S., started the online search anew and found a Taiwanese man with whom he arranged a meeting in Shanghai. The man worked for an official company that arranged transplants in China for people in Taiwan.

Three weeks later, after signing contracts, taking out a mortgage on the house to cover the $100,000 fee, and sending her overseas to a Shanghai hospital, Kline's mother had a new, functioning liver.

"After my mother's transplant, I went in chat rooms to talk to people about it," says Kline*. "I started receiving hate e-mails accusing me of 'complicity in murder.'"

Little did Kline, a social activist against the death penalty, know that the decision landed him in the middle of a growing international issue: Protestors across the globe claim the Chinese government has targeted members of dissident groups for arrest and, in some cases, execution, after which their organs allegedly have been harvested for transplants.

Among those groups is the Falun Gong. As the 2008 Beijing Olympics approach under the microscope of a human-rights campaign against China's government — a recent UPI/Zogby poll found that 59 percent of Americans support using the Games as a way to shine light on China's poor human-rights record — the Falun Gong, being persecuted by the government of the People's Republic of China (PRC), has taken to spreading the word about these alleged atrocities. Locally, they're doing so on Independence Mall.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 2, 2007 7:13 AM

"dissident groups for arrest and, in some cases, execution, after which their organs allegedly have been harvested"

From what I've read, it's the other way around - they're arrested, their organs harvested while they are still alive and they die after or during the harvesting.

Posted by: KRS at October 2, 2007 11:55 AM

So I guess one could say Mr. Kline is against the death penalty, except in cases where it saves the life of an innocent person he cares about?

Posted by: PapayaSF at October 2, 2007 1:27 PM

Kline is against the death penalty for the guilty, but for the death penalty of the innocent who have a body part he can use. Is there a better definition of a liberal.

Posted by: erp at October 2, 2007 1:47 PM