On April 28, 2011, a 17-year-old boy traveled to Chenzhou City in the Hunan Province of China to sell his kidney for a new iPad 2. One year later, the boy's health is quickly deteriorating due to renal deficiency, and five conspirators have been charged with intentional injury.
I wanted to buy an iPad 2 but could not afford it, said the boy, who is only listed by his surname, Zheng. A broker contacted me on the Internet and said he could help me sell one kidney for 20,000 yuan.
The conspirators gave Zheng a total of 22,000 yuan (about $3,400) -- including an extra 2,200 for his troubles -- to have his right kidney removed at Chenzhou's No. 198 Hospital. China's Xinhua News Agency says one of the defendants was paid about 220,000 yuan (roughly $35,000) to arrange the transplant, of which he gave 22,000 to the boy and split the rest of the 198,800 yuan between the surgeon, the three other defendants in the case, and other medical personnel.
The boy used his surgery money to buy a new iPhone and iPad, but when Zheng's mother discovered her son with a new iPad and a disturbing scar, she called the police. Zheng tried to call back the broker, but his cell phone was reportedly powered off, and he and his mother were unable to reach him.
The trading of human organs has been banned in China since 2007. Several different factors led to the eventual ban, including accusations that the government harvested organs from executed prisoners and road accident victims. The No. 198 Hospital said they had no idea about Zheng's surgery because the department that performed the surgery had been contracted by an unnamed Fujian businessman.
Zheng currently lives in Anhui, one of China's poorest provinces that neighbors the Hunan Province. Reuters says that residents of the Anhui province typically leave to find work and a better life outside the region, but now, Zheng suffers from renal deficiency, and his health is in jeopardy.
While five individuals are charged so far, the Xinhua News Agency said several other suspects involved in the case are still being investigated.
China is the second-largest-market for Apple, Inc., and its iPhone and iPad products have been the best-selling products in the country. iPhones start selling at 3,988 yuan (about $633) and iPads begin at 2,988 yuan ($474). China revenue, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, accounts for more than 16 percent of the company's annual earnings.
It's our fastest growing major region by far, Cook said.