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China The Courts

7 Jailed In 'Kidney For iPad' Case In China 100

Posted by timothy
from the let's-ask-tyler-cowen dept.
hackingbear writes "In China, the whole team of medical staff and their brokers were sentenced to jail yesterday over their involvement in the case of a teenager who sold a kidney to buy an iPhone and iPad. He Wei, who organized the illegal transaction in April 2011, was sentenced to five years' imprisonment by the Beihu District People's Court in Chenzhou City. The court added that the defendants had paid compensation worth more than 1.47 million yuan (~ US $237,000) to Wang. Ministry of Health statistics show that about 1.5 million people in China need transplants, but only 10,000 operations are performed each year."
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7 Jailed In 'Kidney For iPad' Case In China

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sell somebody else's!

    • A very good suggestion.

      In fact, given there is clearly a market for both iPads and kidneys, I'd like to the Slashdot libertarian brigade's opinion on this;

      Is it better to have a visible kidney in the hand, or an invisible hand in the market?

      • Is it better to have a visible kidney in the hand, or an invisible hand in the market?

        You appear to presume the creation of some mystical system whereby the automatic availability of the former is assured, which would be a miraculous medical and social development even in the western world. In other words, without the latter, you may find yourself lacking the former. Yes Virginia, organ availability is primarily a social problem. It's a problem that isn't solvable in the political context, as the core of the issue deals with aspects of human rights and human nature that can't by any stretch

    • That takes this addiction [theoatmeal.com] to a new extreme...
    • Sell somebody else's!

      Don't they have a huge prison population? Why can't they just have some of their more troublesome prisoners volunteer theirs? You know, the ones in trouble for spilling state "secrets", even if they're beyond obvious to everyone and his dog.

  • Aha (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 01, 2012 @01:36AM (#42152415)
    So you cannot sell your kidney?
    But you can donate your kidney...

    Sounds like prostitution -- action that is perfectly legal (for free), but cannot be done/sold for money.

  • by formfeed (703859) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @01:44AM (#42152449)
    You wake up in a bathtub filled with ice, an ipad in your hand.
  • To see Apple's new iPad commercial.... A Chinese boy stripped to the waste rocking out to the latest iTunes on his iPad with a huge scar over his left hip. The captions reads "IT WAS WORTH IT!!!

  • Misleading title.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by David_Hart (1184661) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @02:18AM (#42152577)

    If you RTFA, you will find that the donor was paid in cash. He then took this cash and bought an iPhone and an iPad. "Wang was given 22,000 yuan (US$3,529) and he bought an iPhone and an iPad with the money."

    But.... don't let the facts get in the way of a good PR title....

  • They can't even buy a kidney with a Surface tablet.

  • All I had to do to get an iPad was sell my Kidney?

    I wonder how long I could live off of selling all my organs?

    • by gagol (583737)
      I would recommend drug testing. Safer, legal and non taxable IIRC. Me, I will keep my health, thank you.
  • Always wondered... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by flimflammer (956759) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @03:17AM (#42152799)

    What is the reasoning behind it being illegal to sell your non-vital organs? Is it to prevent people from being coerced into it under the guise of a legitimate transaction? Some weird pseudo prostitution thing about "selling your body"? Purely moral taboo?

    Always wondered why this was the case. You'd think if this venue was opened up, there would be more organs going where they are needed without requiring the donor first have a nasty case of death.

    • Non-vital, lol!
    • by Stickerboy (61554) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @03:48AM (#42152925) Homepage

      What is the reasoning behind it being illegal to sell your non-vital organs? Is it to prevent people from being coerced into it under the guise of a legitimate transaction? Some weird pseudo prostitution thing about "selling your body"? Purely moral taboo?

      Always wondered why this was the case. You'd think if this venue was opened up, there would be more organs going where they are needed without requiring the donor first have a nasty case of death.

      First: kidneys are vital organs. Just because the human body has a built-in redundancy does not make it any less necessary to live. Some people, depending on their preexisting health, won't be able to tolerate the removal of a kidney either without taking a significant hit to their kidney function.

      Second: opening the marketplace for donor human organs to profit motives is a bad idea all around. But, if you can solve the human conditions of corruption, avarice and socioeconomic inequality than yes, it might be workable.

      By the time a workable profiteering model for selling organs is adopted, we'll be growing MHC-matched replacement organs in the lab.

    • I think it's because the people who are willing to sell them rarely understand the consequences of doing so. Like this guy, there is no way on earth that a kidney is worth an iPad and an iPhone. It's not even worth a Windows8 phone!
      • by deburg (838010)

        there is no way on earth that a kidney is worth an iPad and an iPhone.

        You saying the kidney is worth less than the iPad/iPhone? (GRIN)

        Anyway, the case happened some time ago, so I bet the kid's crying now for the new model ipad/iphone.

    • by artor3 (1344997) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @04:45AM (#42153105)

      Because it's an incredibly foolish thing to do, and anyone entering into such a deal is being exploited. And unlike some cases of exploitation, such as payday loans, there's no going back on this one. This kid was just seventeen, and he was tricked into a transaction that will negatively impact him for the rest of his life. It's akin to selling highly addictive drugs. You can talk about free markets and rational self-interest all you want, but in the real world, people make mistakes. We should protect each other from making mistakes that one can never recover from.

    • by rollingcalf (605357) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @08:53AM (#42153899)

      "What is the reasoning behind it being illegal to sell your non-vital organs? Is it to prevent people from being coerced into it under the guise of a legitimate transaction?"

      Years ago in India when selling kidneys was legal, many people actually were coerced into selling their kidneys. Sometimes the coercion was by family members, other times by the kidney brokers who would get a cut of the transaction.
      This particular case is aggravated by the age of the donor (seller), a 17 year old minor.

      "Always wondered why this was the case. You'd think if this venue was opened up, there would be more organs going where they are needed without requiring the donor first have a nasty case of death."

      Or it could actually decrease the available supply if people who would have otherwise donated out of kindness start demanding more and more money, making the transplants more unaffordable. And some people staying out of it altogether because they're disgusted with the coercion and corruption.

    • All moral concerns aside, it is also not sustainable.
      If you sell a kidney in your youth, you will probably have kidney problems further in life and need a kidney transplant, in addition to all the other cases not related with early donation.
      The demand will be higher than supply in a matter of decades.
    • by stymy (1223496)
      Indeed. Perhaps you should write a modest proposal.
  • I knew iPad's cost an arm and a leg, but now a kidney? Apple has gone to far...

  • Once the business of organ farming starts, China is facing an enormous market for healthy, young organs and an aging population that needs them around the world. It's much simpler to simply outlaw, outright, than to start trying to manage and regulate such a business.

    • Yeah, but once you outlaw something there's a need for, you create an illegal market for it, like alcohol prohibition. Growing organs from stem cells isn't viable yet, if it ever will be. Jeez, we've got college educated doctors involved in the organ black market over the last decade. Lots of old rich people who can't face dying naturally will pay, no questions asked, if it buys them a little more time. I don't see any easy solution here, not with easy big money to lure the young and ignorant with.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Once the business of organ farming starts

      You're not paying attention. When China executes someone, and they admit to executing ten times as many people as the USA per capita, not just overall (!) they pack them into a truck where they are lethally injected (search "chinese death van") and their family never sees their body again. If there's any reason to behave this way other than organlegging, I don't know what it is.

    • they will just take them from people in prison / jails then or maybe just people on death row.

  • They could easily have made a tragic mistake, since his name is Wang.
  • Only 5 years? In surprised that they weren't executed, considering it's China.

    5 years is nothing when the teen has to go through a lifetime of medical procedures...

  • He *wei* over his head...

A holding company is a thing where you hand an accomplice the goods while the policeman searches you.

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