Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - China
plans to abolish the transplanting of organs from executed prisoners within
five years; instead, it will try to spur more citizens to donate, a top health
After refusing to acknowledge the practice for a long time, Chinese
authorities admitted it last Sunday, insisting however that only prisoners who
volunteered their organs were involved, Xinhua
reported today, citing Vice Health Minister Huang Jiefu.
The decision does not stem from
any humanitarian considerations, but from the fact that the practice is very
Prisoner organ donations are not
ideal because condemned inmates have high rates of fungal and bacterial
infections, Huang said.
"Therefore, the long-term
survival rates for people with transplanted organs in China are always below
those of people in other countries," Xinhua
cited the vice health minister as saying.
In the past, China has been
criticised by the international community for this practice. According to the
United Nations, which sent an envoy in 2009 to visit Chinese prisons, local
authorities put pressures on prisoners to donate.
"Organ donations from condemned
prisoners will be abolished within five years," Xinhua wrote, citing Huang.
Instead, hospitals will rely on a
national organ donation system that is being set up. Trial systems have already
been launched in 16 provinces.