Print 77 comment(s) - last by GuinnessKMF.. on Jun 6 at 1:40 PM

A Chinese teen went to extreme lengths, selling a kidney to pay for the expensive iPad 2 he lusted for.  (Source: The Oatmeal)

The hospital where the kidney was removed claimed it contracted the offices where the surgery was performed to a businessman whose identity they were unsure of. Thus the case has essentially hit a dead end.  (Source: Asia Insider)

In China, Apple gadgets are status symbols among teenagers.  (Source: Simon Blog)
You're buying it wrong?

A Chinese teen has made headlines due to the lengths he went to obtain Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) latest and greatest gadget, the iPad 2 tablet.

I. "I Want The One With the Bigger GBs!"

"I wanted to buy an iPad 2, but I didn't have the money," recalls a 17-year old boy identified only by his surname, "Zheng".

But without a college degree, Zheng's prospects weren't looking great.  Average wages in major Chinese cities range from 1,000 to 5,000 RMB (CN¥).  Zheng would like fall on the low end, making between 1,000 and 1,500 RMB.  At the current going exchange rate of 500 RMB to $77.13 USD, it would take the young man several months to get the slick device.

So he made a shocking decision that brings to mind a legendary webcomic from the comic/satire blog The Oatmeal -- he decided to sell an organ for the Apple device.  He recalls, "When I surfed the internet I found an advert posted online by agent saying they were able to pay RMB20,000 to buy a kidney."

Sneaking out of his home, the youth traveled north to the city of Chenzhou in Hunan Province.  Visiting a local hospital, he had his kidney removed.  He was hospitalized for three days then discharged, with 22,000 RMB (appr. $3,394 USD) in hand.  He used the money to reportedly buy his iPad as well as a MacBook and iPhone.

He tried to conceal his new gains from his mother, but she grew suspicious when she saw the Apple gadgets.  Experiencing medical complications, the young man confessed what he did.  States his mother, identified as "Miss Liu", "When he came back, he had a laptop and a new Apple handset. I wanted to know how he had got so much money and he finally confessed that he had sold one of his kidneys."

Shocked Miss Liu took her son to the Chenzhou police to report that he was the victim of a crime.  But the agents whom Zheng had brokered the deal with had vanished, their cell phones dead.  And the hospital claimed it contracted out its urology department to a private businessman.  It denied knowledge of the businessman's identity or the surgeries he was performing.  It appears the case has now been closed, due to lack of evidence.

II. Case Brings to Light Illicit Organ Trade

The irony of the incident is rather great, given that Apple CEO Steven P. Jobs is himself an organ donor recipient, having received a replacement liver after experiencing complications from his battle with pancreatic cancer.

What makes the incident even more sad and ironic is that Zheng's organ is unlikely to go to one of his many countrymen that need it.  It is estimated that a million people in China need a transplant every year, but less than 10,000 receive organs.  

While some locals are able to purchase organs on the black market, many black market organs instead go to foreign "transplant tourists".  A report in the Japanese media last year claimed that foreigners were paying in excess of $80,000 USD for black market transplants in China.  At that price most Chinese simply cannot afford the potentially life-saving transplant (the yearly income of blue-collar workers in China is around $6,000 USD).

III. Apple Demand: A Double Edged Sword For China

Older citizens in China have seized upon the news story as example of how China has lost its communist ways to the "evils" of unregulated capitalism.  Writes one commenter on Hong Kong's Phoenix TV website, "This is a failure of education, the first purpose of which is to 'propagate morality'. This teenager's stupid behaviour is a manifestation of his radically materialistic values."

Another commenter chimes in, "To sell a kidney in order to buy consumer goods? What vanity! It is undeniable that modern Chinese teenagers' morality is declining. This is something we must all think about."

In China Apple devices are often more expensive then they are in the U.S.  The gadgets are increasingly coveted by youth as status symbols.  The high demand among teens for the devices has led to many other issues, including fights outside Beijing Apple stores during the recent launch of the iPad 2 and white iPhone 4.

The international demand for Apple products has been a double-edged sword for China economically.  While it has created a large number of jobs at manufacturing facilities, Apple's demands of cheaper contracts than its rivals and higher quality have led factories to force tens of thousands of Chinese to slave away long hours in what some say amounts to "sweatshop" conditions.  A recent internal audit from Apple revealed numerous abuses of workers at Chinese plants that contribute to the company's gadgets.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Meh
By FranksAndBeans on 6/2/2011 1:40:24 PM , Rating: 4
Cerin, you've got to be careful with absolutes. What you classify as "simple" is sometimes all someone wants out of a device.

Look, I really don't like apple as a company. For years I shook my head at people buying overpriced desktops that performed worse. But there are some cases where an apple product is the best fit, and it is not being bought for branding.

I still don't own a an apple computer, but I do have two ipods. Previous to the ipods I had six or seven different "open source" type MP3 players and as I much as I hate to say it, the ipods are just a better overall product. Could they be better? Sure. But they are still the best overall player for me.

Point being that people taking a 100% hardline against all apple products are every bit as unreasonable as people taking a 100% hardline for apple products. PC/open source guys tend to greatly underestimate the amount of extra effort (workarounds, hacks, special instructions, etc.) it takes to dial a device in... because in general, they enjoy doing it and like ending up with a device that is tuned exactly how they want it. Not everybody wants that, and it doesn't make them dumb.

No need to get that worked up or insulting about it.

RE: Meh
By nafhan on 6/3/2011 10:13:44 AM , Rating: 2
I've owned a couple Sansa's (most recently, Clip+ I got for $12 on Woot a few years back) and for playing back MP3's it couldn't be any better, and drag and drop file transfer means they are easier to use than an iPod (don't even have to set up iTunes). Obviously, no apps or anything, but that doesn't really matter when I just use it to listen to music while I'm jogging or something.

RE: Meh
By ShadowVlican on 6/3/2011 10:40:16 AM , Rating: 1
I've owned an ipod shuffle and for playing back MP3's it couldn't be any better, and foobar+foo_dop file transfer means they are easy to use (don't even have to set up iTunes). Obviously, no apps or anything, but that doesn't really matter when I just use it to listen to music while I'm jogging or something.

RE: Meh
By nafhan on 6/3/2011 1:33:27 PM , Rating: 2
Probably cost more than $12...

RE: Meh
By justjc on 6/4/2011 7:11:57 PM , Rating: 2
Your iPod probably couldn't play WMA, secure WMA, Audible, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC or have its memory upgraded with a simple MicroSD like the newest Clip+

RE: Meh
By Cerin218 on 6/3/2011 2:53:40 PM , Rating: 2
My WebOS Pre just works. Simply. Beautifully. Powerfully. Period. And capacitive charging ROCKS!!
My Sansa is a drag and drop. Or I can sync with Media Player if I REALLY want to. And it costs WAY less than an iPod. Ipods are NOT an better overall product. When was the last time you changed your iPod battery? Why would I want to be locked into iTunes? So someone else can control my access to my music? Nothing I like better than reloading someone's crashed machine and finding out they have an iTunes library. Most of the time they can't even remember their password to reauthorize their account. Their products are over priced and have crappy technology. You are paying for an image and a brand name, not a great device. Even my rooted Android Nook Color beats the heack out of an iPad. Again, the gullible buy Apple, the rest of us are too smart to fall for the "cool" image.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki