Packed Premiere Screening at Taipei City Hall, Taiwan

"Hard To Believe" premiered this month at the Taipei City Council Hall, with a full house event, including a very lively panel discussion after the film screening. Some attendees said:

 "Hard To Believe"

"Hard To Believe"

"The fact that is “Hard to Believe” is that we'd never thought there will be such a cruel thing. I think such a genuine and stunning film should be seen by more people.”  

 Kevin H.J. Lee, Taiwan well-known documentary director

"This has gone far beyond the human rights issue, which is already a problem of humanity.”

Rep. Huang Kuo-chang, Taiwan legislator

"The film incontestably exposed the CCP's persecution of prisoners of conscience which should be publicized and should be prosecuted."

Rep. Chang Liao Wan-jian, Taiwan legislator

 Over 400 people attended the screening

Over 400 people attended the screening

Taiwanese media coverage

LInk I

Link II

Bristol Against Forced Organ Harvesting

There will be a screening of the film in Bristol, England on Wednesday, the 25th of January, 2017 from 16:00 till 18:00. It is hosted by Bristol Against Forced Organ Harvesting and it will be held at: 

The Conference Room, City Hall, College Green, Bristol BS1 5TR, UK

Get in touch: BristolAFOH@zsr.org.uk                                                                                                     

 

Speakers will be:

Ethan Gutmann, an award-winning China analyst and human-rights investigator, is the author of Losing the New China: A Story of American Commerce, Desire and Betrayal. He has written widely on China issues for publications such as the Wall Street Journal Asia, Investor's Business Daily, Weekly Standard, National Review, and World Affairs journal, and he has provided testimony and briefings to the United States Congress, the Central Intelligence Agency, the European Parliament, the International Society for Human Rights in Geneva, the United Nations, and the parliaments of Ottawa, Canberra, Dublin, Edinburgh, and London. A former foreign-policy analyst at the Brookings Institution, Gutmann has appeared on PBS, CNN, BBC, and CNBC.

Benedict Rogers is the East Asia Team Leader at the human rights organization Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). He also serves as Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, and recently organized their inquiry on China and authored their new report: The Darkest Moment: The Crackdown on Human Rights in China 2013-2016, launched in July.

 

Global Bioethics Initiative Screening in Manhattan

The Global Bioethics Initiative, a non-profit organization with consultative status to the United Nations in New York, held its annual Summer School Program this July. "Hard To Believe" was screened as part of a session on the ethics of organ transplantation, following a presentation by Dr. Damon Noto, Spokesperson for Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting.

Some of the feedback from the students was included in a video advertisement for the digital release of "Hard To Believe" in North America in August:
 

 E. Paljevic, EdD, RN, CPNP, Pace University, Lienhard School of Nursing

E. Paljevic, EdD, RN, CPNP, Pace University, Lienhard School of Nursing

Other feedback from students included:

"One particular documentary that was presented by Dr. Noto, entitled, Hard to Believe, that left many of us in disbelief that organ harvesting occurs in areas of our world at a cost to human lives. It also showed us how it is not difficult for health care professionals to be involved in something that is unethical and not even realize it until later. It gives us moment to pause and
be sure we look at the big picture and be able to defend the vulnerable and undeserved populations of the world."
E. Paljevic, EdD, RN, CPNP, Pace University, Lienhard School of Nursing

"One of my favorite lectures was Damon Noto's talk, "Organ Harvesting from Executed Prisoners and Prisoners of Conscience in China". It was followed by a documentary, "Hard to Believe". Together, the lecture and documentary opened my eyes and inspired me to get more involved in foreign and international affairs. "
G. Lewis, Student, Global Bioethics Initiative Summer School Program

Now Available on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play & Vimeo in North America

Thanks to many amazing organizers, Hard To Believe has now screened in 11 countries and is busy with theatrical premieres across Australia this week with more screenings coming up in New Zealand, Japan, Norway, Czech Republic, the United Kingdom and other parts of the world.

And for those of you in America and Canada, "Hard To Believe" is now finally available to rent and buy on iTunes (USA / CA), Amazon, and Vimeo. If you don’t have a preference for one of these platforms, we recommend Vimeo because they support small film companies like ours by not taking such a big cut from the sales, which helps us to work towards creating more films. 

If you have watched “Hard To Believe” already, please take a minute to give it a review on Amazon, IMDB and iTunes. Here are some audience reviews to give you inspiration...

  “Fantastic, this should be more widely seen by people of all ages...I had read little tidbits about it on the Internet in the past, but this put it all together." ~ Ron Haugen, Producer/Filmmaker

“Fantastic, this should be more widely seen by people of all ages...I had read little tidbits about it on the Internet in the past, but this put it all together."
~ Ron Haugen, Producer/Filmmaker

  “Very compelling, very sad, beautifully, beautifully done this movie.” ~ Dr. Laurie Nadel, Psychologist

“Very compelling, very sad, beautifully, beautifully done this movie.”
~ Dr. Laurie Nadel, Psychologist

  “It also showed us how it is not difficult for health care professionals to be involved in something that is unethical and not even realize it until later. It gives us moment to pause and be sure we look at the big picture and be able to defend the vulnerable and underserved populations of the world." ~ Esma Paljevic, EdD, RN, CPNP, Pace University, Lienhard School of Nursing

“It also showed us how it is not difficult for health care professionals to be involved in something that is unethical and not even realize it until later. It gives us moment to pause and be sure we look at the big picture and be able to defend the vulnerable and underserved populations of the world."
~ Esma Paljevic, EdD, RN, CPNP, Pace University, Lienhard School of Nursing

Please help spread the word about screenings in your area and the digital release in North America by sharing this 30 second promo:

As always, we very much appreciate your support and love hearing your feedback, questions and ideas, so keep them coming!

Good Crowd to Chinese Organ Harvesting Documentary

Page 28—The Guardian—Friday, July 1, 2016 Leisure Time

Organizers were pleased with the interest in a screening of a documentary on the persecution of Falun Gong screened in Swan Hill at the weekend.

A crowd of about 40 people attended the screening of Hard To Believe last Sunday and organizer Lisa Zhang was happy with the turnout and community response with the film.

“They were really interested in this film and some were keen to promote to their clubs and community groups,” she said.

“They say we should let more people know about this film and everyone should know this crime.”

Hard To Believe covers the persecution of practitioners of Falun Gong, and ancient Buddhist form of meditation, in China.

In the late 1990s the practice was unofficially outlawed by Chinese President Jiang Zemin and practitioners were commonly arrested and detained.

During this period prisoners were held in forced labour camps and the rate available for organs in the country for donation exploded.
Ms Zhang has a personal connection to the issue: her mother was an imprisoned Falun Gong practitioner.

She now takes the opportunity to bring the movie to as many localities as possible across Australia to raise awareness of the illegal human organ trade that the movie alleged was perpetrated by the Chinese government.

Ms Zhang was then available to answer questions after the screening.

 

organ-harvesting-hard-to-believe-swan-hill

U.S. Government Hearing: Organ Harvesting, An Examination of A Brutal Practice

Committee on Foreign Affairs Hearing: Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, and the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats

2:00 pm, June 23, 2016 in Room 2200, Rayburn House Office Building: “Organ Harvesting: An Examination of a Brutal Practice”

Witnesses

Mr. David Matas
Senior Legal Counsel
B’nai Brith Canada
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Mr. Ethan Gutmann
Journalist
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Francis L. Delmonico, M.D
Professor of Surgery
Harvard Medical School
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Charles Lee, M.D.
Director of Public Awareness
World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

US legislation should make organ transplant abuse and brokerage extraterritorial crimes. The legislation should require compulsory medical and hospital reporting of all out of country transplantation... Insurers should be prevented from covering and paying for abusive transplantation abroad. Pharmaceutical companies should not be allowed to participate in drug trials with patients using organs from improper sources.
— David Matas
When it comes to abusive transplantation, we have to think not only of the patient in need of an organ, but also the source of the organ. It is unconscionable to kill a healthy person so that a sick person can live. The US must do everything in its power to stop that from happening.
— David Matas
We cannot solve this problem by pretending that prisoners of conscience have not been harvested.
— Ethan Gutmann
I have been told this is a Falun Gong issue. No, this is the familiar specter of human genocide—cloaked in modern scrubs. Even with a united effort, we may lose the patient. Yet let us at least enter the operating room with clean hands.
— Ethan Gutmann
With the papers we have examined, the vast majority of the descriptions regarding the health condition of the “donors” are perfectly healthy; no contagious diseases, sexually transmitted diseases, cardiovascular diseases, cancer or any drug abuse history.
One is forced to wonder: Is this the typical health profile of a criminal?
— Charles Lee, M.D.

At the American Transplant Congress, Boston, USA

Hard To Believe attended the American Transplant Congress in Boston, June 11-15, 2016.  

Adnan Sharif, a nephrologist from the UK, a member of DAFOH, and interviewee in Hard To Believe stopped by the booth, among thousands of other professionals involved in organ transplantation.

 Shawn Wu and Adnan Sharif at the Hard To Believe booth at the 2016 ATC, Boston

Shawn Wu and Adnan Sharif at the Hard To Believe booth at the 2016 ATC, Boston

 Adnan Sharif and Yulia Felton at the Hard To Believe booth the 2016 ATC, Boston.

Adnan Sharif and Yulia Felton at the Hard To Believe booth the 2016 ATC, Boston.

Winner of Best Documentary at Hoboken International Film Festival

 

"Hard To Believe" won the Best Documentary award at the 2016 Hoboken International Film Festival. The awards ceremony was held in the historic Paramount Theater in Middletown New York, with hundreds of audience in attendance. The documentary award was sponsored by Mid-Hudson News.

Swoop Films producers, Kay Rubacek, accepted the award on behalf of the filmmakers.

 

Jerusalem Times: Secrets and Pain Behind the Great Wall of China

On Tuesday June 7, Hard To Believe was screened at the Jerusalem Cinematheque, on the occasion of the "Zhen Shan Ren Art Exhibition" opening. The event was covered by Jerusalem Times.

Below is part of the report translated from Hebrew. 

"The film tells about one of the horrific crimes today -- mass murder of prisoners of conscience in China, sponsored by the government, in order to sell their organs -- and the silence of the world facing a new form of evil that exists in China. The film is based on a seven-year investigation of the author Ethan Gutmann, which presents a chilling confession of a surgeon who caused the death of an inmate after harvesting his organs and tells the story of trying to draw the attention of the world. 

The film also presents the testimony of Prof. Jacob Lavee (President of Israel Society of Transplantation). Our man tells: 'It shocked me when a patient told me that he will receive a heart transplant in China in two weeks. I was wondering how (they) ensured advance notice.' After heart transplantation he returned to the patient. According to Lavee, as a Holocaust survivor he cannot stand aside but began to investigate. He discovered the horrific industry of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China. Since then he does not rest. He struggled and managed to change the law in the country to prevent Israelis from being partners in the crime of organ harvesting, which has already led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Chinese people." 

Click to read the full reports in Hebrew

Hard To Believe Interviewed by “Renaissance Man” on WTBQ

Swoop Films producer Kay Rubacek was interviewed by the Chairman of the Hoboken International Film Festival, Kenneth Del Vecchio on WTBQ about the upcoming screening of "Hard To Believe" at the Hoboken international film festival on June 4, at 2 PM at the Paramount Theater in Middletown New York. 

“Renaissance Man” with Kenneth Del Vecchio is a controversial weekly radio show on WTBQ 93.5 FM, airing every on Saturdays at noon. 

This is an outstanding movie...it will open your eyes.
— Kenneth Del Vecchio

Play the audio below to listen to the interview:

News Report: Local Documentary ‘Hard to Believe’ to Show at HIFF in Middletown

 
I had stumbled on a gruesome murder mystery.
— Ken Stone, Director, Hard to Believe
This is the most destructive thing you can do to a society, to take their most trusted members…and turn them into these monsters.
— Ethan Gutmann, Investigative Journalist

"'Hard to Believe' is coming to the Hoboken Film Festival on June 4, the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre where government forces killed hundreds of peaceful democracy protesters in its main square.

The film follows the trail of Gutmann’s investigation as he begins to unravel the crime that no one wants to admit is happening.

In the documentary 'Hard to Believe,' Investigative reporter Ethan Gutmann recalls the first time he sat down with Falun Gong practitioners who escaped from labor camps and prisons in China.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual practice with several meditative exercises. First introduced to the public in China in 1992, it began to be persecuted in China in 1999 because of its widespread popularity and belief in the divine, something China’s Communist Party has tried hard to stamp out.

The Falun Gong practitioners he spoke to told him about their torture while imprisoned. Hidden within their horrific accounts was the phrase 'physical exam.' Wait a minute, Gutmann thought to himself. Physical exams? Why? And why only on Falun Gong adherents?

The Falun Gong practitioners he spoke to did not understand his interest in the exams. 'I’ve been tortured in the most horrible ways,' they told him, as if to say this was the least relevant part of their story."

Read the full report online by Epoch Times Orange County.  

Hard To Believe at the 12th Annual International Conference on Clinical Ethics Consultation

On May 19-22, 2016, Hard To Believe attended the 12th Annual International Conference on Clinical Ethics Consultation (ICCEC) in Washington, D.C., to help raise awareness of Chinese Community Party's killing of prisoners of conscience, mainly Falun Gong practitioners, for the sale of their organs. 

"Hard To Believe" to Show at Hoboken International Film Festival on June 4th

“Hard To Believe” will be screened on Saturday, June 4th, at 2 PM, at the Hoboken International Film Festival (HIFF) in Middletwon, NY.

Venue address

Paramount Theater (map), 17 S. St., Middletown, NY, 10940.

Tickets available at:  

www.hobokeninternationalfilmfestival.com/events-2016/

Press Release:

For Immediate Release:

“Hard to Believe,” But All Too Real: Orange County Film Company Exposes Crime of Executing Political Prisoners for their Organs at the Hoboken International Film Festival

(Middletown NY) (5/25/2016) – “Hard to Believe ,” an award-winning documentary produced by Orange County company, Swoop Films, and directed by Emmy Award-winning director, Ken Stone, will be screening at the Paramount Theater, 17 South Street Middletown NY on June 4th at 2pm as part of the Hoboken
International Film Festival
. The hour-long film exposes the widespread Chinese government practice of
executing political prisoners and selling their organs to “transplant tourists.”

“Hard to Believe” is a serious investigation into one of the most horrifying human rights abuses of our time. The murder of prisoners of conscience in China and the sale of their organs to foreign patients, comes to life through personal stories, including an author’s 7-year investigation and a surgeon’s confession.

“Seeing the film on the big screen in the local area at the beautiful Paramount Theater is exciting,” says Swoop Films producer, Kay Rubacek. “The screening date is no coincidence either. June 4th is the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in China, where the communist regime slaughtered thousands of innocent students.”

Investigators estimate that up to 10,000 prisoners of conscience have been killed annually for the sale of their organs after 2001, when China’s prison population exploded after the Chinese Communist Party began persecuting any citizen practicing the Falun Gong spiritual discipline.

Leading U.S. ethicist and Founding Director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU, Arthur Caplan, PhD. says the film, “Hard To Believe” , is "an important, timely, and deeply disturbing account of one of the great human rights abuses of our time.”

“Hard to Believe” is currently being broadcast on PBS stations across America, is playing in film festivals
around the world, and translated into nine languages. DVDs are available for purchase from the film website.

Director, Ken Stone and producer, Kay Rubacek, are available for interviews. A private screening link of the
film for review purposes is available to media upon request.

The Hoboken International Film Festival runs from June 3-9. Tickets are available at:
http://www.hobokeninternationalfilmfestival.com/events2016/

ENDS

Video Librarian Review of "Hard To Believe"

 
Also including a study guide, this illuminating, often deeply unsettling PBS-aired documentary is highly recommended.
— Video Librarian, The Video Review Magazine for Libraries, Vol. 31

A review of "Hard To Believe" has been published in the Video Librarian magazine May/June 2016 issue. Below is the text of the full review.

 

Hard to Believe

(2015) 56 min. DVD: $19.99 ($300 w/PPR). Swoop Films (avail. from most distributors). ISBN: 978-0-692-52284-4.

Hard To Believe details a crime so horrendous that its perpetrators deny all knowledge of its existence: the illegal harvesting of human organs -- specifically by the Chinese government -- to fuel an organ transplant industry that grows exponentially each year and caters to the international market. The documentary presents allegations that China harvests organs from political prisoners, expressly from the Falun Gong religious sect (often while they are still alive), and details efforts by the Canadian and Israeli governments and determined doctors and journalists to bring these practices to light, augmented by first-hand accounts from Falun Gong practitioners who escaped unscathed, as well as others. The latter stories are horrifying, particularly the recollections of a former doctor from Xinjiang now working as a bus driver in London who participated in rushed removals of organs from live, non-anesthetized prisoners, all of whom were left to die at the conclusion of the procedures. Equally disturbing are the documented instances of willful ignorance by the media and world governments of efforts to expose the alleged human rights abuses. Also including a study guide, this illuminating, often deeply unsettling PBS-aired documentary is highly recommended. Aud: C, P. (P. Morehart)

Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Review of "Hard To Believe"

"This documentary is extremely important for those involved in organ donation and transplantation, human rights, healthcare, ethics, and the law."

"The credentials of the interviewed experts are impeccable."

"Please watch the documentary and come to your own conclusions." Review of Hard To Believe in the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry.

A review of Hard To Believe has been published in the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, "an international, peer-reviewed journal that provides a forum for different disciplinary perspectives on ethical, cultural and social issues in medicine, healthcare, life sciences and biotechnology".

Below is the text of the full review:

Hard to Believe

Produced by Ken Stone and Irene Silber, 2015, Swoop Films and Stone Soup Productions (New York, 56 minutes, unrated)
Holly Louise Northam
10.1007/s11673-016-9717-1

Abstract

This article presents a review of Hard to Believe, a compelling documentary reporting the forced organ procurement and death of Chinese prisoners of conscience. The documentary is targeted to ignite political and public pressure to stop these practices that are thought to be motivated by financial and political gain. Narrated by journalist and author Ethan Gutmann, the documentary pricks at the collective conscience, as credible witnesses provide evidence that point to an abrogation of every ethical principle ascribed to legitimate organ procurement.

Keywords

Organ trade Sale Trafficking Organ donation Ethics China Human rights Transplant tourism Suffering Consent

The title of this documentary, Hard to Believe, caught my attention. I felt impelled to watch, conscious of my professional responsibility to be informed, concerned about the implications. Few would be unaware of ongoing protests by Falun Gong practitioners against Chinese human rights abuses. Recently, Chinese officials have acknowledged the use of executed prisoners’ organs for transplantation and have promised a more ethical system of organ transplantation, new regulations, and a plan to stop using prisoners’ organs. Despite this, desperation drives some patients to source organs from illegal market networks, with indisputable evidence that this trade results in human misery.

The credentials of the interviewed experts are impeccable. Narrator Ethan Gutmann, an award-winning human rights investigative journalist and author of The Slaughter, is supported by internationally recognized Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas; Professor Arthur Caplan, director of medical ethics at the University of New York; Dr. Enver Tohti, former surgeon from Xinjiang, China; U.S. Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher; Dr. Jacob Lavee, president of the Israel Society of Transplantation; Professor Katrina Bramstedt, ethicist at Bond University and an associate editor of the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry; and others.

The credentials of the interviewed experts are impeccable.
— Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

The documentary commences with footage of Falun Gong practitioners outside the fourteenth International Organ Donation Congress in San Francisco. The narrator sets the scene, describing how protesters “felt the weight of many bodies on their shoulders.” The narrative proceeds to highlight the desperate plight of patients awaiting transplantation and to systematically outline the veracity and magnitude of human rights abuses involving forced organ procurement of Chinese minorities, including the Falun Gong, Uyghurs, Tibetans, and “House” Christians. Gutmann argues that a lack of transparency regarding the provenance of tens of thousands of organs transplanted in China is sinister, given that China is the second-largest organ transplanter in the world and reports low rates of voluntary donation. Gutmann and others argue that organs from executed prisoners are purchased by foreigners as well as by wealthy, influential Chinese.

In this documentary, David Matas, who investigates abuse claims by Falun Gong practitioners, reports that following the Chinese crackdown and detention of Falun Gong practitioners in 1999, many thousands of unidentified prisoners of conscience were incarcerated in labour camps and disappeared without trace. Matas and Gutmann describe accounts from many Falun Gong who had been detained and imprisoned and who explained that they and others refused to reveal their names to authorities because they wished to protect their families from a similar interrogation and incarceration.

Matas reveals that the Falun Gong were consistent in describing their experiences of brutality but, unexpectedly, also reported organ “health checks” that involved the collection of large samples of blood at three monthly intervals and unusual eye examinations that did not seem consistent with standard health examinations. According to Matas, the most “chilling thing” to him was that the blood testing and organ and eye exams appeared confined to detainees who were Falun Gong practitioners and that Falun Gong and minority group detainees from diverse locations and circumstances independently reported being involved in similar tests. These incidental findings seem inexplicable to Matas and Gutmann, who do not believe the “health” examinations were motivated by consideration of the detainee prisoners’ best interests.

Gutmann and Matas form the view that it was possible that detainees’ organs were being assessed and used for transplantation based on the compounding evidence from these reports; the significant increase in transplantation rates in China after the Falun Gong persecution commenced; and speculation regarding forced organ removal that arose from detainee witness reports that executed prisoners’ bodies are cremated before their families are notified of the death or have seen the body of the deceased. A breakthrough occurred in Matas and Gutmann’s investigations when a doctor confessed his role in the removal of organs from an executed prisoner.

Dr. Enver Tohti, a former surgeon from Xinjiang, China, also is interviewed about his involvement in the removal of organs prior to a state-sanctioned death. He describes how he and his surgical team were co-opted by a senior doctor to gather surgical equipment, without explanation. They accompanied a supervisor to a site where a planned execution was under way. Dr. Tohti describes how he and his team were pressured again to remove the liver and kidneys of a prisoner who had been shot but who showed signs of life until the organs were excised.

Gutmann argues that this practice is not isolated and that Falun Gong practitioners are specifically targeted for forced organ harvest because their organs are preferred for people purchasing organs. This is because Falun Gong are required to maintain healthy lifestyles and do not smoke or consume alcohol. This argument is supported in the documentary by evidence collected from recorded telephone calls to more than 100 Chinese hospitals, during which doctors assure callers that scheduled transplantation surgery will be conducted using organs specifically chosen from healthy Falun Gong prisoners. The documentary claims that the recorded discussions are between hospital staff and family members of people in need of an organ transplant, who prior to the transplant surgery seek assurances about the quality of organs they are purchasing. The narrator disputes a statement from Chinese authorities that the calls are a hoax, arguing that hundreds of witness statements support the veracity of the recordings. Evidence that transplant tourists are offered short waiting times for scheduled organ transplants and receive young, healthy organs from executed prisoners adds weight to the suspicions. Gutmann argues that the practice described by Dr Tohti of removing organs from dying “executed” prisoners may be motivated by a desire to improve the function of the transplant.

Dr. Jacob Lavee, president of Israel’s Transplantation Society, describes how he was previously complacent when patients returned to Israel with a purchased kidney, believing the donor benefited from the organ sale. In this documentary, Lavee describes how his attitude changed dramatically when a patient told him he was travelling to China for a scheduled heart transplant. This idea was shocking to Lavee, because the circumstances of death that allow heart donation cannot be predicted. Lavee was even more distressed when the scheduled heart transplant went ahead as planned and he found that the patient had all his medical costs covered by insurance. Lavee describes that this information was a “game changer” for him. It led him to initiate the introduction of a landmark law that has significantly reduced Israeli transplant tourism. The law prohibits medical insurers from covering the costs of transplantation for Israelis who receive illegally procured organs bought outside of Israel. Interviewees recount that Spain also has changed its legislation, and although not stated, it is presumably to follow Israel’s lead. Those in the film strongly recommend that similar laws be introduced to reduce the organ trade in the United States, Canada, and other countries with populations known to participate in transplant tourism. It is reported in the documentary that Australia has intervened to minimize the harm involved in these practices by ceasing training of Chinese transplant surgeons, while Malaysia has sought to limit the trade by refusing to fund anti-rejection drugs for patients returning with an organ from China.

Please watch the documentary and come to your own conclusions.
— Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

Gutmann reports that these international efforts to limit the illegal organ trade were barely noticed in the United States. He argues that it is possibly because the Falun Gong use images that are culturally challenging and may alienate American observers. In the documentary, Falun Gong practitioners are interviewed about their experience of being tortured as detainees. One, “Annie,” speaks of being X-rayed, having her blood tested, and receiving eye and kidney checks. Footage is shown of Falun Gong engaging in a continuous vigil outside the Chinese embassy in London since 2002 in an attempt to raise public awareness of human rights abuses. As Gutmann asks, why is such evil ignored?

Enquiries by European governments and the World Health Organization (WHO) have confirmed the veracity of the claimed human rights abuses. Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher describes how he successfully fought to have the issue brought to the attention of the U.S. Congress. The narrator asks: How can our society ignore these horrors? Is it compassion fatigue? Is it because of cultural or language dissonance? Is it because the public is unaware of the injustice suffered by prisoners and/or lack sympathy for their plight? A witness in the film recounts that one recipient accepted without question the information that his transplanted organ had come from a prisoner who had killed his family. The documentary moves into discussion about the idea that an issue may be so “difficult” as to make it publicly and politically untouchable. This is a proposed explanation of why this evil can be ignored. Rohrabacher suggests the idea that no-one wants to confront the Chinese on this sensitive topic because it may impact trade and foreign relations.

Ethicist Arthur Caplan expresses his disbelief that these practices are allowed to continue unchallenged, as he unpacks the litany of maleficence involved in the destruction of the principles that underpin legitimate organ donation. He specifically counts the absence of voluntary informed donor consent, the fact the “dead donor rule” is irrelevant and substituted with medical murder, the obfuscation of the organs’ provenance and distribution, and the removal of organs from executed prisoners as running counter to current standard of practice and as evidence of crimes against humanity. He argues that an absence of transparency allows these charges to be laid. Caplan asks, “Will we put up with it?” Gutmann informs us that an American best-selling book, Larry’s Kidney, which recounts a patient’s trip to purchase a kidney in China, is being made into a movie and that revealing and legitimizing the organ trade in this way will effectively advertise that China has organs for sale.

The film also argues that transparent practice and data trails can provide proof that organ donation is voluntary and informed—but evidence of such data trails for organ recovery, allocation, and transplantation is still lacking from China. The documentary presents the view that, to address this problem, China must display transparent evidence of adhering to the rules of legitimate organ donation—that donation is informed, voluntary, and transparently managed; that organs can only be taken after a person has died; that prisoners’ organs should never be used; that organs should never be taken from executed prisoners. Patients in need of a transplant should be fully informed of the risks of the organ trade, both to the donor and to themselves. Laws such as those initiated in Israel to prohibit patients from being covered by medical insurance if they purchase organs should be introduced in the United States and other countries where patients travel to purchase an illegal organ.

This documentary is extremely important for those involved in organ donation and transplantation, human rights, healthcare, ethics, and the law.
— Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

This documentary is extremely important for those involved in organ donation and transplantation, human rights, healthcare, ethics, and the law. A failure to address the needs of vulnerable people erodes humanity and destroys public trust. Politicians, policy–makers, and legislators can contribute to solving this problem. In the first instance, patients considering an organ purchase must be educated that their donor will be harmed and may die. Patients requiring transplantation need to realize that, regardless of their desperation, in purchasing an organ they are complicit in a crime. Rigorous efforts must be made to ensure each country maximizes its transplantation rate to meet the needs of its population using organ transplantation practices that align with World Health Organization principles. Please watch the documentary and come to your own conclusions.