2014-12-06 16:11:00

China to end use of prisoners' organs for transplants Jan. 1

China, the only country that still systematically takes organs from executed prisoners for use in transplant operations, plans to end the controversial practice from next month, a state-run newspaper said on Friday. The government has over the last year flagged plans to end the practice, which has drawn criticism from rights groups, who have accused authorities of taking many organs without consent from prisoners or their families, a claim Beijing has denied. The official China Daily said that human organ transplants will from Jan. 1 rely on voluntary public donations and on donations from living relatives.

Supply of human organs falls far short of demand in China,‎ due in part to a traditional belief that bodies should be buried or cremated intact. An estimated 300,000 patients are‎ wait-listed every year for organ transplants, and only about one in 30 ultimately receives a transplant.‎  That shortage has fuelled the illegal trade in organs, and in 2007 the government banned transplants from living donors,‎ except for spouses, blood relatives and step- or adopted family members.‎  China does not publish the numbers of people it executes,‎ though the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, a grouping of more than 150 non-government bodies, bar associations and other groups, estimates it was about 3,000 last year.

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