“In the US or Europe, you have to be dead first in order to be an organ donor. In China they make you dead.”
Dr. Arthur Caplan, Head of the Division of Medical Ethics, NYU
Hard to Believe is a 56-minute documentary that examines the issue of forced live organ harvesting from Chinese political prisoners and the response – or lack of it – around the world. Like a murder mystery, the victims can only tell their stories through evidence gathered and analyzed by others.
The issue comes alive through compelling testimonials: a refugee doctor who removed the organs from a living person; an Israeli surgeon who campaigned to end transplant tourism; a crusading human rights lawyer; ethicists who decry the practice of using living donors; and an author who conducted a 7-year investigation.
Persecution of the Falun Gong is integral to the story. At the same time that hundreds of thousands of practitioners were placed in labor camps, China launched a full out marketing campaign to attract transplant tourists. Perhaps 65,000 prisoners of conscience have been killed for their organs, and the practice may be continuing.
Just as in a murder mystery, you do not see a crime committed. The documentary presents the evidence, letting viewers decide fact from fiction. And it poses the question: with so much evidence, why is so little being done to stop the practice?
“I don’t think the numbers, the millions there or the hundreds of thousands here make a difference. It is the principle of taking the life of an innocent human being and killing them for their conviction – for their belief – it’s as simple as that.”
Dr. Jacob Lavee, Founder and Head, Heart Transplantation Unit, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel
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