“Kidney trading brothers” to get iPhone 6s in twisted ways spark debate on Weibo

Wendy Tang

With the announcement of Apple’s new flagship smartphone the iPhone 6s dominating the global headlines last week, news on a more humorous note has also caught on in China.

A new Internet phrase “Xiao shen ke” (削肾客), translated as “kidney trading brothers,” has been trending on Chinese media. The phrase satirizes China’s crazy Apple fans, some of whom have expressed a desire to trade one of their kidneys for an iPhone, according to Guangzhou Daily.

A chart showing the price of different human organs titled, “What’s your body worth?” has been trending on Sina Weibo. For instance, a pair of human eyes is listed at USD 1,525. It is unclear if these prices reflect real black market prices or whether these prices are mere satire.

Photo from Weibo

A millennial from Yangzhou, surnamed Wu, was determined to sell one of his kidneys on Sunday in order to be one of the first to pre-order an iPhone 6s online. He bailed at the last minute and informed the Nanjing police about his kidney dealing contact instead, according to Modern Express.

It was reported that Wu and his friend Huang researched online how to go about selling human organs, which then led them to join a QQ messenger group to further discuss the kidney trade.

The report said someone from the QQ messenger group told Wu that kidneys range from RMB 100,000 to RMB 200,000 (USD 15,704 to USD 31,416) depending on a donor’s blood type.

The starting price of a 16GB iPhone 6s is RMB 5,288 (USD 830.5) and a 16GB iPhone 6s Plus is RMB 6,088 (USD 956), according to the Chinese Apple Store website.

Wu and Huang requested a medical check-up at a hospital in Nanjing to find out their blood type and explore the condition of their kidneys.

Wu was afraid that he wouldn’t be able place a pre-order in time to get the iPhone so he contacted the seller via QQ messenger to request the seller first give the him a deposit. The seller rejected the request and Wu later called the police to report the saga.

It is reported that the police gave a stern warning to the two young men. The police explained that if they had have been cheated out of a kidney, they would have fallen into trouble. Even if it was the real deal, it would’ve been illegal anyway. Sellers can be charged for the crime of selling human organs.

This is not the first incident of its kind involving the passionate Apple fans of China. In 2011, a 17-year-old high school student sold one of his kidneys for RMB 22,000 (USD 3,453), according to Sohu news. He used the money to buy an iPhone and an iPad 2.

The phenomena of the “kidney trading brothers” continues to drive heated discussion on China’s largest social network Sina Weibo.

Some Weibo users have joked about making a film about China’s crazy iPhone fans and their selling of their kidneys to buy iPhones.

Others have posted up funny posters exclaiming, “The ‘Kidney Trading Brothers’ Redemption: take your empty check and log on to JD.com to trade for your beloved iPhone instead of selling your kidneys, ” it reads.

Photo from Weibo
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