I cannot believe I am writing about this again, but here we are. Another Chinese teenager, a 17-year-old boy, sold his kidney on the black market for about $3,500 US, which he then used to purchase an iPad and an iPhone. Yes, this kid underwent surgery in order to purchase a couple of meh consumer electronic devices. As I mentioned, this is not the first time I have written about this. There was the first kidney harvest and the virginity auction, both for Apple products in China last year.
So, what is going on here? Why are people willing to give up their virginity or organs in return for Apple products in China? There are a couple of problems. First, with 1.5 million organ transplants needed in China and only about 10,000 donations, that leaves a HUGE black market open. In fact, this kid's kidney fetched about $35,000 US, most of which was split between the surgeon, hospital official and the Internet troll who found the boy in a chatroom. The fact that even the hospitals are in on the racket is a sign that something is going wrong in the culture or in the government (no kidding, right?).
The other major factor is the social impact of Apple products in the Chinese culture. Since Apple products are so unbelievably expensive, it is a status symbol for a Chinese citizen to own one. Because of the status and the fact that a round of golf is beyond most Chinese budgets, people are willing to do all kinds of crazy things to prove they are important with an iPhone. For example, the boy in question here is currently suffering renal failure and is so weak he is unable to attend the trial in which he is trying to get $350,000 US in damages from the perpetrators of this crime.
Despite the common nature of the harvesting, the practice is obviously illegal, and the people involved are currently facing 10 years in prison, which is not something anyone wants in China. The fact that it is as common as it is, suggests that generally China doesn't prosecute the crime, though they have begun to as of late with 137 recent arrests.
So, now that we have talked about this a couple of times, I need to know: is there anything you would be willing to sell a part of yourself for? Let us know in the comments.