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Businessinsider.co.za | 71 Chinese Inmates Had Hearts or Lungs Removed During Executions, a New Study Says

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China, which carries out the most executions in the world, killed more than 71 inmates by removing their organs.A study revealed that the inmates were not officially brain dead before their organs were removed for transplants.The country no longer involuntarily harvests the organs of inmates.For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

At least 71 death row inmates in China had their vital organs removed, to be used for transplants, before they were officially declared dead, according to a study published in the American Journal of Transplantation

“We found that the physicians became the executioners on behalf of the state, and that the method of execution was heart removal,” an author of the study, Matthew P. Robertson, said in a statement to Al Jazeera.

For decades, per the study, Chinese surgeons have broken a crucial transplant donor rule: Don’t remove organs from a live body. 

The authors of the study, Australian National University researcher Matthew P. Robertson and cardiac surgeon Jacob Lavee, reviewed 2,838 cases to determine that 348 “surgeons, nurses, anaesthesiologists, and other medical workers or researchers” who participated in the executions of inmates between 1980 and 2015 had removed the organs of death row inmates prior to “legitimate determination of brain death.”

The World Medical Association, which maintains ethical guidelines for physicians in more than 100 countries, specifies that organ removal should not be the cause of death for transplant donors.

“The dead donor rule is fundamental to transplant ethics,” the study reads. “The rule states that organ procurement must not commence until the donor is both dead and formally pronounced so, and by the same token, that procurement of organs must not cause the death of the donor.”

The cases showed that medics did not accurately check that inmates were brain dead — unable to be brought back by ventilation or other means. The study authors were able to determine this by manually reviewing 310 papers that mentioned the word “donor.”

“If the reports we examine are accurate, they indicate that heart and lung procurement by the surgeon was the proximate cause of the prisoner’s death, thus directly implicating the surgeon in the execution,” the study reads.

“This was one of the strongest pieces of evidence of failure to adhere to the dead donor rule because ventilation via intubation is a key step in being able to diagnose brain death,” Lavee said in a statement to Newsweek.

“There were several other problematic features of these clinical case reports. For instance, the donors did not have intravenous lines established until moments before surgery, and several papers referred to acute brain death. This evidence suggests that the donors’ organs were procured before they could have been properly diagnosed as brain dead,” Lavee added.

During this time period, there was no process for voluntary organ donation in China, and death row inmates accounted for all transplants

Dr. Frank Montgomery, Chair of Council of the WMA, told Insider via email that it “has always denounced organ harvesting from executed prisoners as unethical,” adding that their interventions helped China outlaw the organ harvesting of inmates in 2015.

“We are now awaiting a clear commitment of our Chinese member organization that this unethical practice is no longer performed in China,” Montgomery added.

Yaqiu Wang, senior China researcher at Humans Right Watch, is also seemingly skeptical about whether the country has ceased the practice.

“The Chinese authorities have a history of dubious claims with regard to organ transplantation: They said they had taken organs from executed prisoners but insisted the prisoners had always had consented, despite evidence to the contrary,” Wang said in an email to Insider.

“Authorities also claimed that they have ended the practice of using organs of executed prisoners, but there is a lack of evidence on that. The Chinese government’s organ donation registry also lacks transparency and there have been reported data discrepancies,” Wang added.

China is regarded as the world’s leading executioner, according to Amnesty International.

China’s death row is shrouded in secrecy. It keeps its figures on executions secret, but Amnesty International estimates that it killed thousands of prisoners from 2016 to 2020. The US government, conversely, killed 13 prisoners during that time period following a 17-year hiatus that former President Donald Trump ended.

“The findings are disturbing, and the Chinese government should respond to these new allegations,” Wang said.

The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United States of America, Amnesty International, and Lavee did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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News24.com | Thousands Protest in Madrid Against NATO Summit

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A crowd demonstrates against NATO.

Photo by Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto

Carrying the hammer and sickle flags of the former Soviet Union, thousands protested in Madrid on Sunday against a NATO summit which will take place in the Spanish capital next week.

Amid tight security, leaders of the member countries will meet in Madrid between 29-30 June as the organisation faces the unprecedented challenge of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

NATO is expected to consider the bid, opposed by alliance-member Turkey, for Finland and Sweden to join.

The Nordic nations applied in the wake of the Russian assault on Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin calls the war a special military operation he says in part responds to the accession to NATO of other countries near post-Soviet Russia’s borders since the 1990s.

READ | Biden said Putin’s goal of weakening NATO by invading Ukraine backfired spectacularly

“Tanks yes, but of beer with tapas,” sang demonstrators, who claimed an increase in defence spending in Europe urged by NATO was a threat to peace.

“I am fed up (with) this business of arms and killing people. The solution they propose is more arms and wars and we always pay for it. So, no NATO, no (army) bases, let the Americans go and leave us alone without wars and weapons,” said Concha Hoyos, a retired Madrid resident, told Reuters.

Another protester, Jaled, 29, said NATO was not the solution to the war in Ukraine.

Organisers claimed 5,000 people joined the march, but authorities in Madrid put the number at 2 200.

READ | Pandor says Finland’s bid to join NATO indicates a decline in international security

Spain’s Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said in a newspaper interview published on Sunday that the summit would also focus on the threat from Europe’s southern flank in Africa, in which he said Russia posed a threat to Europe.

“The foreign ministers’ dinner on the 29th will be centred on the southern flank,” he told El Pais newspaper.

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News24.com | Turkey Police Break up Istanbul Pride March, Detain Dozens: AFP

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Turkish police on Sunday forcibly intervened in a Pride march in Istanbul, detaining dozens of demonstrators and an AFP photographer, AFP journalists on the ground said.

The governor’s office had banned the march around Taksim square in the heart of Istanbul but protesters gathered nearby under heavy police presence earlier than scheduled.

Police detained protesters, loading them into buses. AFP journalists saw two buses of people who had been held, including AFP’s chief photographer Bulent Kilic, who had been handcuffed from the back.

Kilic, who was also detained last year during the Pride march, is currently in police custody.

Hundreds of protesters carrying rainbow flags pressed ahead with the rally in defiance of police.

Although homosexuality has been legal throughout the period of the modern Turkish republic, LGBTQ individuals point to regular harassment and abuse.

Istanbul Pride has taken place every year since 2003.

The last march which took place without a ban – in 2014 – drew tens of thousands of participants in one of the biggest LGBTQ events in the majority Muslim region.

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News24.com | NASA Blasts Off From Australian Outback in ‘historic’ Launch

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NASA’s first-ever launch from a commercial site outside of the United States blasted off from Australia’s Outback late Sunday, in a “historic” moment for the country’s space industry.

In the first of three planned launches from the Arnhem Space Centre, the rocket, carrying technology likened to a “mini Hubble” telescope, lifted off — blasted about 350 kilometres (218 miles) into the night sky.

“It is a momentous occasion for us as a company in particular, but it’s historic for Australia,” Equatorial Launch Australia CEO Michael Jones told AFP ahead of the lift-off.

Jones, whose company owns and operates the launch site in the far north of Australia, described it as a “coming out” party for the country’s space industry and said the chance to work with NASA was a milestone for commercial space firms in the country.

After a series of rain and wind delays, the suborbital sounding rocket soared into the sky to study x-rays emanating from the Alpha Centauri A and B systems.

After reaching its apogee, the rocket’s payload was to capture data on the star systems before parachuting back to earth.

READ | NASA is slowly powering down the Voyager probes. Here are 18 photos from its 45-year mission.

According to NASA, the launch offers a unique glimpse of the distant systems and unlocked fresh possibilities for scientists.

“We’re excited to be able to launch important science missions from the Southern Hemisphere and see targets that we can’t from the United States,” Nicky Fox, NASA’s Heliophysics Division director in Washington, said on announcing the mission.

Jones said the unique location had made preparations hard, with years of work to get regulatory approval and the need to haul rockets on barges to the launch site – about 28 hours drive from Darwin in northern Australia.

“I think for the team, it’s gonna be, you know, a huge relief that it’s done,” he said.

READ | ‘Giant leap forward’ – South Korea space rocket launch puts satellites in orbit

But with the next launch already looming on July 4, the break would be short-lived.

“We need to, you know, dust ourselves off, take a day off and then get back into it in readiness for the next launch because it’s just as important.”

It is the first NASA rocket to launch from Australia since 1995, and the project was hailed as the start of a “new era” for the country’s space industry by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

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