Want China Times, Li Hsin-tung & Staff Reporter, 2014-12-7
China will ban the harvesting of organs from executed criminals starting Jan. 1, 2015, according to Huang Jiefu, chairman of the China Organ Donation and Transplant Committee.
Speaking at a seminar in Kunming in southwestern China's Yunnan province on Dec. 3, Huang said the move will aggravate the serious shortage of transplant organs in the country, as the rate of organ donors among Chinese citizens stands at only 0.6 per 1 million people, among the lowest worldwide, a far cry from the 37 per 1 million people in Spain. There are around 10,000 organ transplant surgeries each year in China, yet there are 300,000 patients in urgent need of a donor.
In addition to the the constraints imposed by traditional culture, which emphasizes the need for the body to remain intact after death, Huang also blamed the low donation rate on widespread suspicion over whether donated organs can be utilized in an open and fair manner.
Huang noted that there has been growing cultural acceptance of organ donation in the country, adding that 38 organ transplant centers in Beijing as well as Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces have stopped using organs from executed criminals, who have previously accounted for 90% of transplant organs.
China is the only nation in the world to carry out such a practice, which has been the target of widespread criticism, with critics alleging that some hospitals, doctors and judicial institutions can obtain organs under the table.