The mainland – which has long been criticised by international human rights groups for using organs harvested from executed prisoners as its main source of organ transplants – will completely ban the practice from next year.
All organs used in future transplants must be from donors, the Southern Metropolis News quoted Dr Huang Jiefu as saying. Huang is former deputy director of the health ministry and director of the China Organ Donation and Transplant Committee.
Major transplant centres had already stopped using executed prisoners’ organs, said Huang, who chaired an industry forum in Kunming on Wednesday.
There is more here, via Mark Thorson. The article notes China has one of the lowest voluntary organ donation rates in the world. 0.6 individuals out of a million sign up to donate their organs after they die, and that means the number of actual donors is lower yet. If you google around, you will find some ambiguity as to whether the donation rate or the “register to donate rate” is that low, but as far as I can tell (try this Chinese source) it is the actual register to donate rate, in part because they just aren’t many ways to register right now. Please let us know if you have additional information on this point.
Wikipedia by the way reports:
The wait times for organ transplants for organ recipients in China are much lower than elsewhere in the world, and there is evidence that the execution of prisoners for their organs is “timed for the convenience of the waiting recipient.
Here are some of Alex’s earlier posts on a market for transplanted organs.