Australian academics campaign against Chinese transplant chief

Xavier Symons
25 May 2013
Reproduced with Permission

A fierce campaign is being carried out in Australia to strip Chinese doctor Huang Jiefu of his honorary professorship at Sydney University. Dr. Jiefu, who was Vice-minister for Health in China for 12 years, authorized the forced removal of organs from thousands of executed Chinese prisoners. He may have done some himself

A group of academics, doctors and lawyers this week submitted a petition to the university to revoke the professorship. David Shoebridge, a member of the NSW legislative council and one of the signatories of the petition, stridently condemned Jiefu: "this is a man, who for more than a decade, day in day out, transplanted the livers of executed prisoners, without consent. That would be a crime in Australia."

Dr Jiefu has hit back at his critics, emphasising that China is reforming its organ transplantation policy, and that it no longer authorizes the forced removal of organs. "Our government already has regulations related to recovering organs from death row inmates," he said. "Consent is not presumed consent -- written consent from the prisoner himself or herself as well as his or her family [is needed]."

Maria Fiatarone Singh, professor of medicine at Sydney University, is unconvinced by Dr Jiefu's comments: "the real point is, if something is unethical, then you don't suggest you are going to move away from it in a few years, you stop doing it now."

Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas, who co-wrote Bloody Harvest, an expose of the illicit Chinese organ transplant system, also signed the petition, calling Huang unethical and not deserving of the University honors.