China boasts about their status as one of the world's top sources for organ harvesting and transplantation, yet they're suspiciously silent when it comes to revealing how these organs are procured. Hard to Believe attempts to delve into the heart of this dark medical mystery.
Mounting evidence suggests that these organs have long been attained from unwitting prisoners of conscience within the country. Additionally, reports indicate that many of these organs are extracted without proper sterilization or sedation. The victims could potentially number in the tens of thousands. The country is essentially charged with torturing and carving those who dare to voice protest against their government.
Sectors of the international medical community are aware of these atrocities, yet there seems to be no will within the political and law enforcement establishments to intervene and put a stop to them.
The illegal operation is driven not by medical necessity, but purely for profit. The film offers insights into the complicated pressures and discretions that dominate the region, and which allow these barbaric practices to continue.
The filmmakers speak with a variety of sources, including prisoners who managed to survive following long periods of torture, medical experts and human rights advocates. In one particularly jarring segment, a surgeon turned whistleblower recounts a harrowing moment when he was instructed to remove a prisoner's liver and kidney while they were still alive. Following the makeshift operation, he was intimidated into secrecy. In another segment, a young daughter fights to secure a release for her wrongfully imprisoned father.
Various regions have enacted a series of meager penalties and restrictions against China in retaliation for the country's widespread corruption and brutality. Yet most of the world is turning a blind eye. A significant portion of the film explores the reasons why these practices are being allowed to continue with little consequence.
Hard to Believe is a powerful and disturbing portrait of one of the world's most offensive - and ill-reported - affronts to human rights. The silence surrounding these offenses speaks to the values of both the Chinese persecutors, and those who refuse to take action against them.
Directed by: Ken Stone, Irene Silber