“One of the doctors took a scalpel and made a long incision from under the sternum all the way to the umbilicus. The man’s legs began to twitch. Then the doctor opened his entire abdominal cavity. Blood and intestines gushed out at once. The doctor pushed his intestines aside and quickly removed a kidney; the doctor opposite removed a kidney from his other side. They were very skilled and fast.

“The doctor told me to cut the veins and arteries. When I cut, blood immediately spurted out. There was blood spurting from all over his hands and body. This blood was flowing, verifying without a doubt that this man was alive. By this time, both kidneys that had been taken out were put in an organ transport container that the nurse was holding.

“Next, the doctor opposite me asked me to remove the man’s eyeballs. I sat down and leaned closer. At that moment, his eyelids moved and he looked at me. I held his gaze briefly. There was sheer terror in his eyes — the kind of terror that can’t be expressed with words.

“My mind went blank and my whole body began to shake. I felt terrified. I was paralyzed. I told the doctor that I couldn’t do it.

“All of a sudden, the doctor roughly grabbed the man’s head with his left hand and, while using two fingers to hold his eyelids open, used the hemostatic forceps he already had in his right hand to gouge the eyeballs out. It was done in one motion.”

This is not the prelude of some psychological thriller, but a disturbing real-life account from “George Zheng”— a former Chinese medical student who had been interning in the 1990s at Shenyang Army General Hospital in China. Unbeknownst to him, he had been appointed to a medical team involved in China’s notorious organ-harvesting. Zheng only learnt the chilling nature of his new assignment when he was sent to be part of the fatal surgery. Afterwards, he overheard that the victim may have been younger than 18-years-old.

Distressed and wrought with fear following the incident, Zheng quit his job and fled to Canada, adopting a new identity. All of these years later, he said that he was still traumatised and haunted by cadaverous images of the terrified young man who was murdered for his organs that day.

China’s grisly organ trade gained public notoriety back in 2001, when a substantial increase in transplants with short wait times was noticed. Websites in China were seen advertising a range of organs for sale with the possibility for advance bookings – alluding to the fact that people could be killed on demand. In other words, while patients in other countries could wait months or years for organs, those who elected to travel to China as “organ tourists” were able to get the organs they require in just a few weeks, or even days.

An independent tribunal in London concluded that prisoners were still being killed in China for the organ trade, and that over 1.5 million had lost their lives in China’s $1 billion a year organ industry. Some experts have even estimated that the industry could be making as much as $10 billion to $20 billion annually.

The investigation stated that “forced organ harvesting has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale” and that it was “certain that Falun Gong was a source – probably the principal source – of organs for forced organ harvesting”.

Falun Gong is a religious practice where followers adhere to certain principles of meditation and qigong. In 1999, the Chinese Communist Party set out to eradicate the spiritual practice. Since then, hundreds of thousands – possibly millions – have been arrested. Upon entry into prison, inmates have their blood and organs checked. After this, many mysteriously vanished – never to be seen again.

The tribunal added that “very many people have died indescribably hideous deaths for no reason, that more may suffer in similar ways, and that all of us live on a planet where extreme wickedness may be found in the power of those, for the time being, running a country with one of the oldest civilisations known to modern man.”

Over the years, ECMO — extracorporeal membrane oxygenation — has enabled China’s trade to flourish. While ECMO technology has been used to save lives, in China, it is being utilised to kill would-be-doners. Decades ago, only some organs could be harvested and stored, and other organs would be disposed of, due to oxygen deprivation. ECMO, however, keeps organs – like the lungs – fresh. As such, every human body suddenly became worth a lot more since, every organ could now potentially be saved – even the skin. A healthy liver alone, for instance, could cost in the region of $160,000.

China’s organ harvesting industry is booming, killing millions.