South Korea has a kidney shortage, and the Beijing Olympics are to blame, Der Spiegel reports. China, attempting to clean up its human rights reputation in preparation the 2008 games, has banned organ trafficking and cut down on the state executions that used to create supply. Now countries that used to rely on this most controversial of Chinese exports are feeling the pinch.
Ten thousand South Koreans are on waiting lists for organs—Koreans traditionally don't donate—and prices have jumped nearly 40 per cent since the trafficking ban went into effect. Even so, China's record on the issue remains dubious. The government continues to harvest organs from Falun Gong prisoners to offer to wealthy Chinese, says a former Canadian state department official.