Innovation and Value: Organ Transplant Innovation in China

Conference: The Kyoto Conference on Arts, Media & Culture (KAMC2022)
Title: Innovation and Value: Organ Transplant Innovation in China
Stream: Humanities - Other Humanities
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
David Matas, University of Manitoba, Canada


Innovation is ethically neutral. Its value depends on how it is used. Technological developments do not change human nature. But they do change the ability to bestow benefits or inflict harm.
The development of transplant technology and the mass killing in China of prisoners of conscience for their organs are linked. That this mass killing has been happening within the community of practitioners of the spiritually based set of exercises Falun Gong has been established beyond reasonable doubt. One independent researcher after another has come to that conclusion, as well as an independent tribunal. The mass killing of prisoners of conscience through forced organ has spread geographically and within prisoner of conscience groups as transplant technology has developed. In particular, the development of ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation technology) and machine perfusion, which is widely used in China, have allowed for organs to survive longer outside the body and be moved around China. The repression of the Uyghurs as well the depletion of the arbitrary detained Falun Gong population through organ extraction and the increased portability of organs because of ECMO and machine perfusion have led to a partial shift in sourcing from local Falun Gong detained to repressed Uyghurs in Xinjiang province. The presentation would explore and explain abuse of transplant technology and its shift in victim populations as a case study of the harm that innovation can bring if not properly encased in legal and ethical norms.

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