Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je involved in organ scandal

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je waves to the press during the Taipei-Shanghai forum in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, August 23, 2016. The Chinese envoy arrived in Taiwan on Monday for a city-to-city dialogue, amid a chill in relations between the sides following the inauguration of the island's independence-leaning president, Tsai ing-wen, in June. (AP Photo/ Chiang Ying-ying)

The Taiwanese local elections of 2018 are scheduled to be held on 24 November, less than 100 days away from right now. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), once again, has been accused of transplanting organs from Falun Gong prisoners by Ethan Gutmann, the author of “The Slaughter”.

According to Ethan Gutmann’s book published in Aug. 2014, “The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China’s Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem”, Mr. Ko had been to the hospital in China to negotiate reduced kidney and liver prices for his department’s elderly patients. The Chinese surgeons also assured him that all the organs would come from Falun Gong prisoners with healthy conditions.

However, Ko Wen-Je denied accusations of organ trafficking. Some of his supporters believe that all these accusations are smear tactics.

“I will send the interview video to Ethan Gutmann and I will definitely sue him if he dares to admit what he said in the video is all true.” said Ko Wen-je very frankly.

Ko is angry because his controversy of organ transplantation with Ethan Gutmann, a well-known US investigative writer and human rights defender, isprovoked again recently.

“We didn’t say anything about change the book because we don’t intend to change the book.” said Gutmann during an interview on 12th September.

U.S. journalist and writer Ethan Gutmann gives press conference to present his book on illegal taking of organs from Chinese prisoners (CTK via AP Images)

The incident originated in 2014. The KMT legislator Lo Shu-lei accused that Ko facilitated the procurement of organs from China for his Taiwanese patients and made profits from these transactions according to a chapter in Ethan Gutmann’s book “The Slaughter”.

It is said that Gutmann agreed to correct some translations when the book is reprinted, but four years later, now Gutmann says he never plan to change any translation of the book.

Ko stressed that all procedures needed for organ transplantation are recorded by National Taiwan University Hospital. He also stated that he was a full-time surgeon in surgical intensive care unit so he didn’t deal with patients who need to do organ transplantation unless they had serious complications after organ transplantation.

“I will send the interview video to Gutmann directly. He will need to deal with the problem by himself.” Ko said it will be great if Gutman really come to Taiwan to testify.

Ko’s statement is also a response to Wu Xianghui(吳祥輝), the pro-Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) publisher of the Chinese version of  “The Slaughter”, who insists the accusation  about Ko in the book is all correct.

On the other hand, as a human rights author, Gutmann’s purpose is to investigate the human rights situation in China. There is no definitive evidence to indicate that Guttman is involved or interested in Taiwanese politics, but it is intriguing that any influential information appears just before the election.