I’m sure you’ve already heard the latest WTF story to come out of Asia, where a 17 year old boy in China reportedly sold his kidney for money to buy an iPad 2, and (unsurprisingly) regrets the decision completely. A mysterious broker contacted him over the Internet, offering money for one of his two kidneys.
On April 28 Zheng went to Chenzhou City in neighboring Hunan Province for the kidney removal surgery arranged by the broker. His parents knew nothing about it, Zheng said. He was paid 22,000 yuan after his right kidney was taken out at the Chenzhou No. 198 Hospital.
When he returned home, his mother (understandably) freaked out but by then, the kidney was long gone.
The broker stopped picking up his cell phone and the hospital denied having any information about the transaction, stating that the surgery was done by a third party business. This has to be a joke, right?
How many times have we heard outlandish stories to come out of Japan or China? Okay, so the live animal keychain vendors actually exist, but remember when everyone outside of Asia believed for a hot minute that Japanese people were being duped into buying sheep for what they thought were poodles (because apparently real poodles and sheep don’t exist in the exotic Far East, so those slanty eyed yellow folk wouldn’t be able to tell the difference)? I’m hoping this story about the one-kidney-lighter boy is just another false case of “those crazy Asians.”
For one thing, how many urban legends are there about organ stealing? Remember how people would talk about a friend of a friend who woke up in a bathtub full of ice and found their organs stolen by thieves? Yeah, that never happened–and I trust Snopes more than my own mother (who once told me a friend of a friend contracted the HIV virus after one night stand with a vindictive man who wanted to infect the whole world with AIDS). Yeah, okay, mom.
Secondly, 20,000 yuan doesn’t sound like much for a harvested organ. According to today’s market, this Chinese teenager earned roughly $3,400 for his kidney which, according to the Internet, is actually worth over $91,000. If this really did happen, the poor guy got totally ripped off–and you’d think he’d actually do his research if he was tech savvy enough to covet an iPad 2. Then again, he was dumb enough to talk to an organ donation broker so nevermind. Or maybe he just has low self esteem?
The third thought is that 20,000 would have bought this kid at least three 64GB Wi-fi iPad 2s, which retail for around 5, 288 yuan. Did he want more than one iPad 2? If he was stupid enough to tell the press that he sold his kidney for that amount of money, then why would he have mentioned it was specifically for an iPad 2? Perhaps this is where the miscommunication or bad translation came in, but if I was in post-op pain for illegally selling an organ and told the newspaper, I’d make up some story about wanting to donate the money to charity or buy medicine for a poor village in the remote provinces of China or at least something better than a soon to be outdated gadget from Steve Jobs. In fact, I already have a list of things I would donate a kidney for (not that I would ever admit it publicly…Wait, I’m doing that right now):
- A buttload of Apple stock: Why invest in one iPad 2 which everyone knows is going to be obsolete in 2 years when Steve Jobs announces the next gen version at WWDC? Instead, stash that money into the actual Apple shares so you can not only profit from current iPad 2 sales, but also the iPad 3, 4, 5 and 6.
- A date with John Cho or Joz’s cousin. *swoon*
- China: I don’t think you could actually buy a country but if it only took one extra organ to be in charge of the “next big thing,” then why not? I only need one kidney to pee. Or whatever it does.
- A lifetime supply of guacamole.
- A better and prettier kidney. Possibly encrusted with diamonds.
I hope Zheng learned his lesson: a kidney is worth much, much more than an iPad 2. It’s worth at least 100 of them (and with 3G connectivity)–not including tax and 3G coverage rates.
[Picture courtesy of I Heart Guts]