There have been hushed rumors and some investigations about the booming illegal organ trade in China, but anything of value is almost always suppressed before it's visible to the public eye.
In 2006, it was revealed that hospitals charge transplant tourists, people from first world countries who head to China in search of organs, $30,000 (£19,800) per cornea, $62,000 (£40,900) for a kidney and $130,000 (£86,000) for a liver or heart.
Apprehension grew about the sources of these organs, but China denied any claims about illegal organ trafficking. It maintained that for the 10,000 transplants carried out, the organs came from executed prisoners. But, as evidence shows, only 2,400 prisoners were executed in 2013.
And the question remains: Whose organs are these that are so quickly and profitably being sold elsewhere?
A PBS documentary, Hard to Believe, finally answers this question.
The organs come from the scores of religious prisoners China has detained. Most of these are from the Falun Gong sect, a school of thought founded in 1992 that instantly garnered support with its teachings supporting meditation. But the popularity of this seemingly harmless discipline alarmed the authorities, who could not tolerate so many people unified by one religion. And so the arrests began.
Over the years, China detained millions of Falun Gong supporters. Meanwhile, Chinese authorities discovered a way to both make an example out of these prisoners and also get their share in a booming, lucrative and illegal trade. They began to harvest organs from these prisoners.
The documentary interviews surgeons, who were at times forced by the authorities to carry out removals. The organs were removed while the detainees were alive. Sometimes, they were pulled apart by bare hands.
Despite the overwhelming evidence, it’s appalling how the world has repeatedly, for decades now, turned a blind eye to this mass atrocity in China.