Last week the Vatican found itself at the centre of a controversy over one of the most barbaric human rights violations imaginable — allegations that China forcibly removes vital organs from live prisoners of conscience, for sale for transplant.
The row arose because the Pontifical Academy of Sciences held a conference on organ trafficking around the world, and invited China's former vice-minister for health and current chair of the National Organ Donation and Transplantation Committee, Dr. Huang Jiefu, as a speaker.
Among his other roles, Huang is a member of the Communist Party's People's Political Consultative Conference and deputy director of a secret party committee responsible for providing healthcare to the top cadres. Despite trying to build a reputation as a reformer, Huang is accused of presiding over China's forced organ harvesting; for instance, in 2005 he is on record, in official publications, ordering two spare livers from hospitals in Chongqing and Guangzhou as a back-up for an operation he was conducting in Xinjiang. They were delivered the next morning.