Dissident Helped FBI Organ Sting

Two Chinese men accused of trying to sell body parts of prisoners executed in China were arrested after human rights activist Harry Wu posed as a doctor seeking to obtain organs for transplants.

"Those people are human beings. The dead deserve their rights," said Wu, who tipped off the FBI and has testified in Senate hearings about the practice.

The arrests spotlighted longstanding allegations that China trades in human organs.

Cheng Yong Wang, 41, and Xingqi Fu, 35, were arrested Friday on charges of trying to sell corneas, kidneys, skin, livers, pancreases and lungs for transplant.

Wu is one of China's best-known dissidents. He spent 19 years in Chinese prisons and labor camps as part of an anti-rightist purge. Now an American citizen, he was arrested trying to get into China in 1995 to investigate prison labor camps. He was given a 15-year prison term for spying, but was deported to the United States three months later.

Wang and Fu, who live in New York City, were arrested after Wu secretly videotaped a meeting with Wang on Feb. 13. Wu, who was identified in court papers only as "Person A," said he had been contacted by representatives of a dialysis center that Wang had approached, offering to sell body parts.

Wang claimed he could guarantee parts from at least 50 of about 200 prisoners executed each year on China's Hainan Island, Wu said.

Wang signed a contract during the meeting with Wu, saying he coordinated with Chinese government agencies and hospitals to get organs for transplant, prosecutors said. The transplants would be performed in China for foreigners, the federal complaint said.

An FBI agent then posed as a board member of a dialysis center in a meeting Friday, the complaint said.

Wang claimed to be a former prosecutor in China's Hainan Province and participated in the execution of Chinese prisoners, U.S. officials said.

Wang discussed with the agent the methods by which Chinese prisoners are executed and described how he and Fu would sell the dialysis center two corneas from executed prisoners for $5,000, authorities said.

The Chinese government, which has consistently denied accusations that it allows prisoners' organs to be sold, noted Tuesday that such trade is against the law.

In a 1995 Senate hearing, the Amnesty International reported that the percentage of transplanted kidneys in China estimated to come from executed prisoners was as high as 90 percent.

"This is a widespread systematic practice the Chinese government engages in their quest for hard currency. They sell human bodies," said Marc Thiessen, a spokesman for Sen. Jesse Helms, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman.

Written by Larry Neumeister.
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