World can ben­e­fit from China’s ex­per­tise in or­gan do­na­tion, Aus­tralian ex­pert says

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By CHINA DAILY

Al­though China has thor­oughly ended its former re­liance on the or­gans of ex­e­cuted pris­on­ers as a source for trans­plant or­gans, ru­mors are still be­ing spread, of­ten to pro­mote a po­lit­i­cal agenda, ac­cord­ing to a for­eign ex­pert in the field.

Camp­bell Fraser, an or­gan traf­fick­ing re­searcher from Aus­tralia, said that such ru­mors are still be­ing spread by the Falun Gong cult as well as that China har­vested or­gans from cult mem­bers, but “there’s no ev­i­dence of that what­so­ever”.

“So now this is like a proxy for a po­lit­i­cal cam­paign against the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment,” he said.

Fraser has fol­lowed global trends in or­gan traf­fick­ing for years and in­ter­viewed count­less med­i­cal doc­tors, ex­perts and Falun Gong prac­ti­tion­ers.

“The peo­ple of the Falun Gong have no in­ter­est in trans­plan­ta­tions, or in help­ing the pa­tients. What they are in­ter­ested in do­ing is try­ing to win global sup­port for their cam­paign against China,” he said.

Fraser called on the in­ter­na­tional med­i­cal and aca­demic com­mu­ni­ties to dis­re­gard such lies, rec­og­nize China’s re­forms and ac­tively in­clude Chi­nese doc­tors and ex­perts in the ex­change of in­for­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion to ad­vance the science and bet­ter help pa­tients world­wide.

“The in­ter­na­tional or­gan trans­plan­ta­tion com­mu­nity is go­ing to suf­fer if we don’t have the ben­e­fit of Chi­nese ex­per­tise,” he said.

Recog­ni­tion and un­der­stand­ing for China’s re­forms in the field have in­creas­ingly grown over­seas, said Wang Haibo, di­rec­tor of the China Or­gan Trans­plant Re­sponse Sys­tem, which co­or­di­nates or­gan distribution and shar­ing.

In early Fe­bru­ary, a Chi­nese team led by Huang Jiefu, chair­man of the China Na­tional Or­gan Do­na­tion and Trans­plan­ta­tion Com­mit­tee, was in­vited to the Pon­tif­i­cal Academy Sum­mit on Or­gan Traf­fick­ing and Trans­plant Tourism at the Vat­i­can, and the team briefed the gath­er­ing on the changes China has made.

In 2005, Huang, then vicem­i­nis­ter of health, first made known at a World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion meet­ing on or­gan trans­plan­ta­tions that more than 95 per­cent of trans­planted or­gans used in China came from ex­e­cuted pris­on­ers.

The Falun Gong seized on that in­for­ma­tion to at­tack China, Fraser said.

China in­tro­duced a se­ries of mea­sures to end the prac­tice and in 2010 set up a pub­lic or­gan do­na­tion sys­tem. Five years later, it banned the use of or­gans har­vested from ex­e­cuted pris­on­ers.

Fraser said those changes were made, not be­cause of in­ter­na­tional pres­sure, but “be­cause the Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties are very keen to try and max­i­mize the to­tal num­ber of or­gans that are avail­able to help the pa­tients”.

By the end of last year, China had pro­vided 9,996 or­gan do­na­tions since 2010, and by April 10, more than 174,000 Chi­nese had filed their con­sent to serv­ing as or­gan donors, Wang said.

A re­cent sur­vey, he added, found that more than 70 per­cent of the Chi­nese pub­lic sup­ported or­gan do­na­tion.

Camp­bell Fraser

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