The author of a book on live organ harvesting, Ethan Gutmann, denied that he had alleged that independent Taipei mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) was an “organ broker,” adding that the accusations were likely caused by a misunderstanding.
“We take Dr Ko’s concerns very seriously and we have reviewed the relevant pages in his [Gutmann’s] book together with our own records of interviews and notes on which those pages were based,” Clive Ansley, Gutmann’s attorney, said in a letter to Ko. “We have concluded that the entire misunderstanding and the reckless accusations which have appeared in the Taiwan[ese] media would appear to be based on language and cultural differences between the English in Mr Gutmann’s book, on the one hand, and the understanding of the relevant pages when the latter have been rendered into Chinese.”
The letter was written in response to allegations by Chinese Nationalisty Party (KMT) Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) that Gutmann’s book The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting and China’s Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem says that Ko agreed to purchase human organs from China.
Ko immediately rebutted the allegations, saying that while overseeing post-transplant care at the hospital he had not conducted transplants, nor bought or sold human organs in China, adding that he merely told Gutmann in an interview in 2007 that there were some doctors in Taiwan who had been involved in the buying or selling of organs for transplant, but that he was not one of them.
Ansley backed Ko in his letter.
He wrote that, after a careful review of the relevant pages, he concluded that “no English-speaking reader has understood the caption or the text to mean anything other than that Dr Ko was being given information, rather than making a statement about the availability of Falun Gong organs in some sort of personal ‘organ broker’ deal.”
“No English-speaking reader to date has understood for one moment that Dr Ko was acting as an ‘organ broker,’” Ansley said. “No English-speaking reader to date believes that Dr Ko was trying to purchase organs himself or was in any way involved in any sort of profit-making venture.”
“We believe that language, translation and the heated environment of the political campaign for the mayoral race in Taipei may be playing a role in misconstruing the author’s intentions and clouding the issue,” he added.
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