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China to end organ donations from executed prisoners within 5 years

Chinese Vice Minister of Health Huang Jiefu said on Thursday that China will stop taking organs from executed prisoners in the next three to five years. The Ministry of Health [official website, in Chinese] and the Red Cross Society of China [advocacy website] have been working together since 2009 [press release] to put in place a more efficient and less corrupt organ donation system, and trial systems have been put in place [Xinhua report] in different areas of the country, to encourage voluntary donations from the public. Due to the inefficiency of the current system, the majority of China's organ transplants now come from executed prisoners. The new system will put in place a national registry and set new standards and regulations for donations. If successful, officials hope it will reduce the country's reliance on donations from prisoners.

In 2009, it was reported that 65 percent of China's organ donations [JURIST report] came from executed prisoners. China pledged in 2007 at a World Medical Association [profession website] meeting to end the practice [JURIST report] of harvesting prisoners' organs, except for donations to relatives. This decision came after criticism by the British Transplantation Society [advocacy website], which accused China [JURIST report] of selling organs harvested from executed prisoners. China denied these and other allegations [JURIST report], saying that all donors must give consent before their organs are used.

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About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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