Man selling his children to pay for kidney transplant

A man in Jianxi who is suffering from uremia, can not afford his medical cost and hopes to sell both is daughter and son for his kidney transplant operation.  The man had a happy family, but after suffering from this disease he was unable to work and his wife also quietly left him…


(Form Netease) In order to treat uremia he had almost gone bankrupt. After his wife left him left him with his son and daughter , in order to have kidney transplant to stay alive, “I now have no other ways, only to trade my child for my life!” said Mr. Chen, painfully walked into the newspaper office yesterday.

30-year-old man from Jiangxi, Mr. Chen came to Xiamen over 7 years ago and had been working for a job that puts up advertising billboards.  He had a happy family of four back then, but since September of last year, he gradually had vertigo, high blood pressure and other symptoms. Doctor said he was suffering from nephritis at first, then kidney failure, finally Mr. Chen was diagnosed with uremia.

After the diagnosis, Mr. Chen went to the Xhongshan Hospital, Chinese medicine hospitals and his hometown Jiangxi within the next two to three months. “Because patients with uremia cannot even release urine, I must have dialysis or else I will suffer from edema and body weakness, it can even be life-threatening.” Mr. Chen said, so he spent more than 4,000 yuan everyone month for hemodialysis, 8 times a month, 400 yuan each.

Because of uremia Mr. Chen could not physically work. His wife also left him without a word, leaving no one to take care of his 12-year-old daughter and 11-month-old son. In order to find the cure, he already sold his refrigerator, air conditioner and furniture. Plus his home town was flooded in 1998, he now has almost nothing…

“If I have no money for kidney transplant, then I am just going to wait for my death.” Mr. Chen frowned, “I have nothing now, only my children are worth something, if any nice person who is willing, I can give him my child if he pays for my kidney transplant.” Mr. Chen also said, he no longer can take care of himself, the two children are also suffering, might as well give them away.

“If the person does not need a child and is willing to pay my kidney transplant, then I will work for him for the rest of my life, I owe him my life.”

Yesterday the reporter contacted a lawyer, Zhang from Fangyuyuan Law Firm in Fujian. Zhang said, as for Mr. Chen’s current predicament the situation is understandable, but it is not acceptable by the law.

Zhang said that although Chen did not clearly indicate that he is selling his children, but from the legal stand, in essence, he has violated the “Protection of Minors Act”. “He is indeed in a very tough spot.” Said Zhang, “however he still should not break the law.”

  1. That sucks.

    It reminds me of something I read about that illustrates one of the major differences in perspective between “East” and “West”.

    You’re on a sinking boat with your spouse (or significant other), your parent(s), and your children. You can only save one of those three groups from certain death (because this is a hypothetical situation and that’s just the way it is), whom do you save? (You cannot chose to die in order to save two groups)

    People from the US will usually say the Children, but also spouse. They will rarely say parents.

    People from “the East” will often say the Parents, and also spouse. They rarely say children.

    The “Western” perspective was that the parents would do the same thing: save the children. Besides, when you’re having kids you’re parents are old and close to death anyway.

    The “Eastern” perspective was that you could have more children, and you could find another spouse, but you couldn’t replace your parents. (This is not to suggest the lost of a child wouldn’t be emotionally traumatic to a Chinese parent.)

    That was a survey conducted in English in the United States of a handful of people, so it can hardly be considered representative, but this guy seems to play it out. In the US, I think people would tell him to look for a good person to raise the kids, and then prepare to die.

    1. Outdated with the emergence of the “little emperors”. Many of the current generation don’t think much of their parents as other than a source of money or inheritance. I’ve actually had this conversation with a lot of local Chinese before. Answers do vary, usually based on generational differences but the answers were never really so clean cut.

  2. The above comment is ridiculous, with the empirical evidence being a “survey conducted in English in the United States”. Why do you choose to put East and Eastern in parentheses rather than opting to use the term you mean? “Asian” or more specifically “Chinese” perhaps?

    I am Chinese and also initially thought this man should sacrifice his own life for that of his children, but as I read the entire post above, I felt perhaps he was interested in staying alive not just for selfish reasons (if we can call wanting to stay alive at age 30 selfish) but also in order to safeguard and ensure the well-being of his children. Their mother has already abandoned them, do you think a friend or relative would be able to bear the burden of their upbringing?

    If this man dies without the intervention of a charitable human or organization, his children are doomed to a fate no less grim.

    1. I agree with you, Annie. At first I felt like this man was being incredibly selfish, but as I read on I changed my mind. I guess this man saw what would be the easiest way to solve all his problems, and in his desperate situation he had nothing else to do. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, in a place like China, selling children is more of a possibility than it is here in North America.

  3. Above comments are very interesting.
    I don’t want to take any side, but just recall one article I read few years ago in the newspaper.
    It was about one woman (from UK) who had two sons – twins – who suffered from congenital disease of kidneys. They were about 12, I think, when their condition on one hand deteriorated badly, but on the other hand they were big enough to accept the transplant from adult.
    So all relatives made test, and ONLY mother’s organs were found to be compatible with theirs.
    Now this was a really tough choice – she should either “kill” herself to give both of her kidneys to her kids (which in fact nobody would allow her to do!) OR choose one of her sons to give him her life and sacrifice another.
    WOW! That was indeed a tough situation…

  4. Why doesn’t this person just start a foundation and take donations to save his life rather than sell his children?

  5. Purely rhetorical inquiry: isn’t China a ‘communist’ state? Isn’t state care of citizens intrinsic to such philosophy? Ie. So a man doesn’t have to choose between death and children?!

    1. I’m going to assume that your being sarcastic 🙂
      If not, then i think you need to educate yourself about China’s government 😛

  6. There is a classic ethical dilemma regarding life and what we find acceptable. You are standing on a small bridge crossing a railroad track together with another person, a stranger. A train is approaching the bridge but further down the track you can see that the track is out and it’s a fact the train will derail and kill -let’s say- at least 50 passengers. Your only chance to stop the train is by pushing the stranger next to you over the edge and down onto the track. He will die but the train will stop thus saving 50 people’s lives. Could you grab the stranger, life him up and throw him to his death knowing that that would save 50 other people? As far as I remember the results from this dilemma showed that most people couldn’t or wouldn’t do it.

    1. Radio Lab talks about this moral dilemma similar to what you’re saying. Check it out–

    2. You could always throw yourself in front of the train. Death would be instantaneous and you wouldn’t have to death with a life of shame. Such delimma are stupid though, because… there must be a lot of other factors to consider. Also, most people wouldn’t think that a single human body could stop a train from derailing. If a car cannot stop a train… What good would a human body do… except make the death toll 51. If there is a enough time then using a heavier object to stop the train would seem more logical. If there is very little time between derailment… a human body wouldn’t matter…

      1. Instead, how about:

        Would you detonate a nuclear warhead, killing an entire cities population (500,000) knowing that it would preempt a nuclear attack that you are 100% sure is going to happen, thus saving the lives of 10 million and preventing world war III ?

  7. The only question need to be asked is, “If you are in his situation, what would you do?” For Chen, I think that is the only solution he has.

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