Doc­tors hail China’s pledge to stop har­vest­ing in­mate or­gans

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Sur­geons from around the world gath­ered at a con­fer­ence in Bei­jing yes­ter­day in China’s lat­est ef­fort to fight per­sis­tent scep­ti­cism about whether its hospi­tals have stopped per­form­ing trans­plants with the or­gans of ex­e­cuted pris­on­ers.

Doc­tors from the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion and the Mon­treal-based Trans­plan­ta­tion So­ci­ety who were in­vited to the con­fer­ence by China praised Chi­nese of­fi­cials for re­forms they have made in the trans­plant sys­tem, in­clud­ing a ban put in place last year on us­ing or­gans from ex­e­cuted in­mates.

Doubts per­sist that China is ac­cu­rately re­port­ing fig­ures or meet­ing its pledge given its se­vere short­age of or­gan donors and China’s long­stand­ing black-mar­ket or­gan trade. By its own fig­ures, China has one of the low­est rates of or­gan do­na­tion in the world, and even the sys­tem’s ad­vo­cates say it needs hun­dreds of ad­di­tional hospi­tals and doc­tors.

While China sup­presses most dis­cus­sions about hu­man rights, govern­ment of­fi­cials and state me­dia have pub­licly talked about their com­mit­ment to ending a prac­tice op­posed by doc­tors and hu­man rights groups due to fears that it pro­motes ex­e­cu­tions and co­er­cion.

In a sign of the is­sue’s sym­bolic im­por­tance to China, the con­fer­ence took place in an or­nate, chan­de­liered ball­room in­side the Great Hall of the Peo­ple, the build­ing next to Tianan­men Square that typ­i­cally hosts for­eign lead­ers and cer­e­mo­nial Com­mu­nist Party events.

Doc­tors at the con­fer­ence yes­ter­day de­scribed meet­ing pa­tients and vis­it­ing hospi­tals around the coun­try, and said the recorded us­age of drugs given to trans­plant pa­tients lined up with China’s re­ported num­bers of trans­plants.

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