Har­vest­ing ex­e­cuted pris­on­ers’ or­gans to end on Jan 1

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By SHAN JUAN, LI YINGQING and LI­UWEN­WEN

China’s long-term de­pen­dence on ex­e­cuted pris­on­ers as or­gan donors will end at the start of next year, ac­cord­ing to a high-rank­ing of­fi­cial.

Hu­man or­gan trans­plants will rely on vol­un­tary pub­lic do­na­tions from Jan1, HuangJiefu, di­rec­tor of theChina Or­gan Do­na­tion Com­mit­tee and a for­mer­vice-min­is­ter of health, saidon Wed­nes­day.

Liv­ing or­gan do­na­tions by rel­a­tives will still be al­lowed, Huang said at a con­fer­ence in­Kun­ming, the cap­i­tal of Yun­nan prov­ince.

“Har­vest­ing or­gans from ex­e­cuted pris­on­ers for trans­plants is con­tro­ver­sial, de­spite writ­ten con­sent be­ing re­quired from donors and their rel­a­tives,” he said. “The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment has al­ways been res­o­lute in mak­ing ef­forts to end such prac­tice.

“Do­na­tions by the pub­lic should be the only source of or­gans for trans­plants,” he stressed.

The pub­lic has been able to do­nate or­gans after death to help save oth­ers’ lives un­der a na­tion­wide sys­tem launched in 2010 by the Na­tional Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion and the Red Cross So­ci­ety of China.

As of Tues­day, there were 2,948 or­gan donors from the pub­lic through the sys­tem, in­volv­ing 7,822 or­gans, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial fig­ures. Of th­ese do­na­tions, 1,500 were made this year.

“With good ac­cess and fair and open prac­tice, Chi­nese are al­ways will­ing and ready to do­nate to help in­volved in 2,948 donors through China’s na­tion­wide sys­tem, which

was launched in 2010. oth­ers in need,” Huang said.

To en­sure fair al­lo­ca­tion, all do­nated or­gans are dis­trib­uted un­der a com­put­er­ized sys­tem.

“The most se­verely ill get do­na­tions un­der the sys­tem, re­gard­less of their so­cial sta­tus and wealth,” Huang said. “Ju­di­cial de­part­ments are not en­ti­tled to de­cide where the or­gan do­na­tions go.”

Be­fore the dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem was in­tro­duced, or­gans for trans­plants were al­lo­cated by hos­pi­tals, with most of them har­vested from ex­e­cuted pris­on­ers.

“We could not sim­ply re­ject or­gan do­na­tions by in­mates, but the prac­tice had to be well reg­u­lated to safe­guard fair­ness,” Huang said.

Un­der the cur­rent sys­tem, spe­cial­ized or­gan pro­cure­ment or­ga­ni­za­tions have been set up na­tion­wide to en­sure stan­dard prac­tice and qual­ity in or­gan do­na­tions.

On av­er­age, there are about 10,000 or­gan trans­plants in China an­nu­ally, but 300,000 pa­tients need trans­plants each year. Huang said a liver trans­plant costs 500,000 yuan ($81,000) and a kid­ney trans­plant 200,000 to 300,000 yuan. Con­tact the writer at shan­juan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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