Friday, August 28, 2009

China admits death row organ use

British Broadcasting Corporation

Chinese criminals are sentenced to death in Wenzhou, file image
China executes more people than any other nation

China is trying to move away from the use of executed prisoners as the major source of organs for transplants.

According to the China Daily newspaper, executed prisoners currently provide two-thirds of all transplant organs.

The government is now launching a voluntary donation scheme, which it hopes will also curb the illegal trafficking in organs.

But analysts say cultural bias against removing organs after death will make a voluntary scheme hard to implement.

Thriving black market

About 1.5 million people in China need transplants, but only about 10,000 operations are performed annually, according to the health ministry.

The scarcity of available organs has led to a thriving black market in trafficked organs, and in an effort to stop this the government passed a law in 2007 banning trafficking as well as the donation of organs to unrelated recipients.

But in practice, illegal transplants - some from living donors - are still frequently reported by the media and the Ministry of Health.

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