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