Chinese teen sells kidney to repay video game debts

In this Oct. 4, 2011 file photo, casino representatives watch an online poker game during a conference in Las  …Some people are willing to go to pretty crazy lengths for their love of video games (just check out our gallery of cosplay from Fan Expo Vancouver back in April – those are true gaming fans). It only becomes a problem when those lengths start to include personal harm – like selling your body parts.

According to a recent story from Kotaku, an 18-year-old Chinese man in Gangsu province reportedly sold his kidney as part of a black market organ trade. The discovery was made when police arrested a gang for their dealings in black market organs.

Chinese website Tencent published a story suggesting that the man, referred to as Zhang, was selling his kidney as a way to deal with some recent money troubles. The site reports that Zhang had accrued $3,255 in debt related to video games, although exactly how he managed that they don’t specify. Strictly speculating, it could have been credit card debt accrued purchasing items in an online multiplayer game like World of Warcraft. Alternatively, Kotaku’s Eric Zhou thinks that the Chinese media might be using the words “gamer” and “gambler” interchangeably, putting blame on video games as a convenient scapegoat.

Geek.com reports that Zhang received $6,510 for his kidney on the black market, less than 15% of what he could have potentially collected – $47,000, according to sources.

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Regardless, it’s disturbing to think that some teens (albeit very few we know of) are turning to the black market organ trade as a means to fulfill a need for entertainment. In 2011, a similar story saw a Chinese teen sell a kidney on the black market to buy an Apple iPad and iPhone, which resulted in 9 people standing trial for “intentional injury.” That incident shed a very negative light on the consumer culture surrounding Apple, and plagued the tech giant for months.

With no specific game (or reason, really) named in this incident, it’s unlikely that any one game or company will be blamed in this latest incident. Instead, it’s just another case of video games being blamed for a bad situation.

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