An iPhone and iPad were worth more to a Chinese teenager than his kidney, according to a report Friday from China's Xinhua news agency. Now five people in southern China face charges of illegal organ trading.
The 17-year-old, surnamed Wang, received about $3,500 for his kidney, which was removed and delivered to a recipient last April. Wang's mother grew suspicious when her son returned home with the costly new gadgets, and his confession soon followed. Xinhua says the teen is now suffering from "renal insufficiency" — a decreased level of kidney function — and that his condition is deteriorating.
The five charged include the surgeon, as well as the broker, who was reportedly penniless and hounded by gambling debts. Another of those charged was tasked with hunting for donors through online chat rooms, Xinhua says, and another with leasing the operating room. Together, they shared the rest of the $35,000 received for the organ after giving Wang his share.
The case is stirring alarm in China as citizens worry about increasing consumerism, particularly among the young, The Associated Press says.
Also alarming is the enormous gap between people needing transplants in China and donors, which Xinhua says has led to a huge black market for organs.