China's black market for organ donations
BBC News | Aug 11, 2015
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By Martin Patience
It is the unimaginable decision that no mother should ever have to make: choosing which of her sons might live or die.
That was the choice Lian Ronghua, 51, faced earlier this year.
Both her sons were suffering from uraemia - a condition that leads to kidney failure. But only one of them could receive their mother's organ. Their father suffers from high blood pressure and could not donate.
In the family's small rented apartment, Ms Lian struggles to talk about that time.
"I don't know why both my sons are ill," she told me, tears streaming down her face.
In the end, the decision was taken for her. Her eldest son, Li Haiqing, 26, decided his 24-year-old younger brother, Haisong, should get their mother's transplant.
"I wanted to give my brother the kidney as he's younger and has a better chance of recovery," said Haiqing, who was forced to give up his medical studies because of his illness.
"Of course I hope I get a kidney before it's too late. But if I don't, I'll just need to keep on doing dialysis."
But his chances of getting a transplant are slim - China suffers from a huge organ shortage.
For years it harvested the organs of executed prisoners to help meet demand.
Following international condemnation, Beijing says it ended the practice at the start of this year - although officials admit it will be tough to ensure compliance.
Now the government says it will only rely on public donations...