A volunteer lays flowers in front of a monument in honour of organ donors during a commemorative event held at a human organ donor memorial park in Kunming, southwest China’s Yunnan Province, April 3, 2019. The human organ donation work was officially launched in Yunnan Province in July 2013. By the end of March 2019, 333 organ donation cases have been recorded and the number of registered organ donation volunteers has reached 6,398. Photo: Xinhua

Six medical workers in East China’s Anhui Province were detained by the police on suspicion of insulting corpses after a local man found they faked an organ donation for his deceased mother. 

Li Ping, a woman from Huaiyuan county, Anhui, was beaten to death with an axe by her eldest son on February 10, 2018, after her two sons quarreled on the phone earlier that day, thepaper.cn reported Wednesday.   

Her second son, named Shi Xianglin, and his wife and son were also hurt. The eldest son, a schizophrenic with limited capacity for criminal responsibility, was sentenced to 14 years and eight months in prison. 

During Shi’s stay in hospital, his father and sister agreed with a local doctor from the Huaiyuan People’s Hospital, named Yang Suxun, to stop Li’s ventilator and donate her organs on February 15.  

Shi told thepaper.cn that he became suspicious over the donation in February 2018 when he found no serial number and official stamp on his mother’s donation list. 

In May, he went to Beijing to check with the China Organ Donation Administrative Center but found no official record of his mother’s organ donation. That meant the donation was not conducted through normal approaches and not authorized by the Red Cross.

According to Shi, his family received 200,000 yuan ($28,492) as a “national subsidy” after his mother’s liver and kidney were removed for “organ donation.” 

But a staff member named Chen Hu from the Huaiyuan Red Cross Society told thepaper.cn that organ donation in China is free. “There is no way the nation would give the families subsidies.”

Shi said he reported the case to the local public health department in June 2018 and the department investigated the hospital.

At that time, Yang offered him 460,000 yuan as hush money but Shi refused and reported the issue to the department.

The six medical workers, including Yang and five others from Nanjing, East China’s Jiangsu Province, were arrested after Shi reported the case to a central investigation team that came to Anhui in April.

The case is still under investigation. Thepaper.cn said that Li was sent to a hospital in Jiangsu the day her ventilator was stopped, but it has not been revealed what happed to her organs. 

According to China’s criminal law, people who commit the crime of abusing a corpse shall be sentenced to a fixed-term imprisonment or criminal detention for three years. People who organize the sale of human organs can be sentenced to more than five years in prison.