Source: Xinhua | 2012-11-30 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
A SURGEON and six others were jailed yesterday over their involvement in the case of a teenager who sold a kidney to buy an iPhone and iPad.
Seven of nine defendants were sentenced for intentional injury and two others, though found guilty, were exempt from criminal punishment because of their minor roles.
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.
Song Zhongyu, the transplant surgeon, was sentenced to three years with a reprieve of five years.
The other five were given jail terms ranging from one to four years.
Wang, a 17-year-old high school student from Anhui Province, agreed to sell one of his kidneys after he found the group through an online chatroom. His kidney was transplanted to a recipient in Chenzhou on April 28, 2011.
Wang was given 22,000 yuan (US$3,529) and he bought an iPhone and an iPad with the money. But he later suffered renal failure and told his mother what had happened.
He earned 56,360 yuan and Song was given 52,000 yuan for the transaction. The other seven defendants all received a share of the proceeds.
Of the nine defendants, five were prosecuted as main culprits and four others, including two nurses, a surgical assistant and an anesthesiologist, were tried as accessories, the court said.
The court added that the nine defendants had paid compensation worth more than 1.47 million yuan to Wang. The compensation and forgiveness from the teenager and his family led to leniency in sentencing.
Human organ trade and organ donations from living donors, except for close family members such as spouses and blood relatives, are illegal in China. An underground trade in human organs is booming in the country where there is a huge demand for transplants.
Ministry of Health statistics show that about 1.5 million people in China need transplants, but only 10,000 operations are performed each year.
Medical experts have long urged the establishment of a transparent system for organ donation and distribution in order to boost the number of donors.
"China should not only crackdown on the underground organ trade but also speed up in establishing a scientific and comprehensive system for organ transplants and donations," said Xia Xueluan, a sociology professor at Peking University.
Vice Health Minister Huang Jiefu has said China is considering an organ transplant system that incorporates measures, including offering donors compensation, to encourage donations.