Five people in southern China have been charged with intentional injury after a Chinese teenager sold his kidney to purchase an iPhone and an iPad last April. The group includes the surgeon who removed the kidney from the 17-year-old, who now suffers from renal deficiency.
Also included is the person who reportedly received around ¥220,000 (approx. $35,000) to arrange the transplant, according to the Xinhua News Agency. Out of that sum, Wang, the boy who lost his kidney, received only ¥22,000 (approx. $3,487). The rest of the cash was divided between the three other defendants.
Wang was from Anhui, one of China’s poorest provinces. He admitted to selling his kidney when his mother asked how he had obtained an iPhone and an iPad. According to prosecutors, his renal deficiency is now deteriorating.
Apple products are big business in China — not only for Apple itself, but also for the gangs of Chinese scalpers who purchase its devices with the sole intention of selling them on through the grey market for a huge profit. But the scalpers wouldn’t exist if these devices weren’t so popular in China, where customers go to great lengths — like selling their own organs — to obtain them.
But demand for organs is even greater. According to British broadsheet The Telegraph, around one million Chinese citizens need organ transplants each year, but only 10,000 of them actually receive transplants. This has lead to a grey market of its own, which includes brokers, doctors and corrupt government officials, who sell organs for up $79,000 each.