Corruption of China’s Communist Party

It has been reported that there is widespread corruption among Chinese government officials including graft, bribery, use of official position for personal gain, blackmail, misuse of public money, and extortion. [161] One source cites graft and bribery as constituting over 50% of the economic crimes in China.[162]

Under the current Chinese government, the rights of individuals are always subject to the drafting of new legislation that may suspend those rights. [163] Moreover, violations of those rights guaranteed by the Chinese constitution are generally not enforceable against the government because of the lack of checks and balances in the system. [164]

The Communist Party always takes precedent over the independent rule of law. [165] Chinese citizens may only exercise their right to freedom if their behavior does not infringe upon the interests of the society and the state. [166] Research has indicated that Chinese citizens who engage in promoting freedom of expression are arbitrarily arrested, detained, tortured, and convicted. [167]

Many crimes involving expression of ideas or even an association with an idea or movement that differs from the party line are classified as political crimes. [168] The ensuing trials are held in secret, excluding observers and even lawyers, under the excuse of maintaining state secrets.[169]

Economic gain from organ harvesting

China sells organs of executed prisoners on a large scale for profit under the guise of state secrets. [170] China has a system that readily sentences, condemns, and executes human beings so that their organs can be sold by government officials for personal gain. [171]

Arrestees are often denied immediate access to legal representation following their detention. [172]  Chinese police even take extreme steps to limit defense attorneys from assisting their clients. [173]

For example, Chinese police severely limit the length and number of times a defendant is allowed to meet with his attorney, require the attorney to brief police concerning the nature of the conversation prior to the meeting, cancel meetings that are intended to cover topics that are not preapproved, and severely restrict the attorney’s access to the prosecution’s evidence. [174]

Torture Is An Accepted Practice

Moreover, torture is often used to elicit confessions. [175]  International organizations have documented the widespread abuse and torture of prisoners occurring at all types of detention facilities and legal institutions in China. [176]

One individual reported that he was forced to confess to a crime after undergoing torture perpetrated by the police that included electrical shock applied to the toes, fingers and genitals, beating with heavy chains and sticks, and injection of hot pepper, gasoline, and ginger into his nose. [177] Thus, it is not surprising then that China refuses to accept the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which allows for regular international inspection of detention centers.[178]

Injustice is Inherent in China’s Criminal Justice System

In addition to the arrest and detention of prisoners, trials are often held before defendants are provided adequate time to prepare a defense. [179] Defendants do not have a guaranteed right to cross-examine witnesses. [180]

In addition, verdicts and subsequent sentences are often determined by private committees prior to a proper trial. [181]Unfortunately, it is quite common for a court to have reached a verdict before the defendant even enters the courtroom. [182]

Appeals may be rejected based on a mere summary examination of the case by a judge in his chambers. [183] Official statistics released by the Chinese government note that the conviction rate for all crimes between 1998 through 2002 was 99.1%, an almost perfect conviction rate, which is troubling considering the reports of torture being used to force confessions and the denial of adequate legal representation.[184]

Even though the Supreme People’s Court is now supposed to review all death penalty cases, one researcher discovered that during a two and a half month period in early 2007, at least thirteen people were executed without their cases being reviewed and approved by the high court.[185]

Hospitals are Involved in the Death Penalty Process – It’s a Profit Center for Them

Once a prisoner is convicted and sentenced to death, the hospital system becomes involved with the harvesting of the organs. [186] With China’s social medical system, the government controls all medical personnel and hospital facilities. [187] Such strict controls prevent medical personnel from questioning the source of the organs used in transplants or their duty to perform the transplants. [188] Furthermore, medical personnel are sworn to secrecy regarding the organ transplantation work they perform. [189] Often, they are presented with donor bodies that have bullet holes in the head or other wounds common in execution victims.[190]

Under the communist system, many rural hospitals suffer from a severe shortage of funding. [191] In the face of these conditions, some hospitals are forced to resort to creative ways to generate revenue, including the sale of organs harvested from prisoners. [192]

Hospitals have the unique ability to generate large amounts of revenue from organ transplants. [193] The Organ Transplant Center of the Armed Police General Hospital located in Beijing posted literature stating, “Our Organ Transplant Center is our main department for making money. Its gross income in 2003 was 16,070,000 yuan. From January to June of 2004 income was 13,570,000 yuan. This year (2004) there is a chance to break through 30,000,000 yuan.” [194] Due to increased revenue and demand, six new hospitals dedicated solely to organ transplants were constructed between 2001 and 2004.[195]

The majority of the money generated from the sale of organs of executed prisons goes to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the Chinese military. [196]

China’s military is a fully functioning business, sanctioned by the government to raise money for military activities and make up for the lack of resources provided by the government. [197]Most of the hospitals partaking in the sale of the harvested organs are run by the PLA.[198]

The PLA has a close relationship with the prison system as well as the justice system, ensuring that a great number of the victims are actually condemned because of their political or religious beliefs. [199] Chinese military members not only have access to the prison system in China but also to the prisoners themselves. [200]

The PLA’s interactions with these prisons and prisoners are more secretive than those of the civilian government, and they are impervious to Chinese laws. [201] A former doctor of the PLA stated that his job required him to remove the corneas and skin from the corpses of over one hundred executed prisoners, which included a few victims of intentionally botched executions. [202] The hospital paid the Higher People’s Court a specific dollar amount for each corpse, although no receipts or records of the exchange were documented.[203]
[161]. Lin, supra note 145, at 5-6.
[162]. Id.
[163]. Brown, supra note 1, at 1050.
[164]. Id.
[165]. R.P. Peerenboom, Article: What’s Wrong with Chinese Right?: toward a Theory of Right with Chinese Characteristics, 6 HARV. HUM. RTS. J. 29, 33 (1993).
[166]. Id.
[167]. Daniel C. Turack, Article: the New Chinese Criminal Justice System, 7 CARDOZO J. INT’L & COMP. L. 49, 63-64 (Spring 1999)
[168]. Executed, supra note 5, at 21.
[169]. Id.
[170]. Brown, supra note 1, at 1075.
[171]. Organs, supra note 4, at 15 (statement of N.Y. Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman, Member, Comm. on Int’l. Relations).
[172]. Executed, supra note 5, at 1.
[173]. Id. at 21.
[174]. Id.
[175]. Id. at 1.
[176]. Id. at 13.
[177]. Repression, supra note 10, at 6.
[178]. Executed, supra note 5, at 13.
[179]. Id. at 1.
[180]. Id.
[181]. Id.
[182]. Id. at 28.
[183]. Executed, supra note 5, at 1.
[184]. Id. at 3.
[185]. Repression, supra note 10, at 7.
[186]. See Id. at 42-43 (statement of Harry Wu, Executive Dir., The Laogai Research Foundation).
[187]. Brown, supra note 1, at 1072.
[188]. Id.
[189]. Id.
[190]. Id.
[191]. Bloody, supra note 67, at 8.
[192]. Id. at 9.
[193]. Id.
[194]. Id. at 9-10.
[195]. See Id. at 44.
[196]. Organs, supra note 4, at 15 (statement of N.Y. Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman, Member, Comm. on Int’l. Relations).
[197]. Bloody, supra note 67, at 9.
[198]. Organs, supra note 4, at 15 (statement of N.Y. Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman, Member, Comm. on Int’l. Relations).
[199]. Id.
[200]. Bloody, supra note 67, at 10.
[201]. Id. at 10-11.
[202]. Organs, supra note 4, at 57 (statement of Wang Guoqi, former doctor, Chinese PLA Hospital).
[203]. Id.