07/22/2015, 00.00
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A “record number” of transplants in China, (possibly) despite a ban on harvesting organs from executed prisoners

More than 12,000 transplants are expected this year. Since the start of the year, harvesting organs from executed prisoners is no longer allowed. Yet, “China is a big country. No one can say for sure".

Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Despite a ban on the removal of organs from death row inmates, China is expected to perform a "record number" of transplants in 2015, this according to Dr Huang Jiefu, China’s former deputy health minister.

"We expect to do more than 12,000 organ transplants this year," Huang said during a visit to Hong Kong. “In the past when the organs from executed prisoners were used, we saw at most around 10,000 transplants in a year,” he said candidly.

Now, he added, the mainland has seen the opposite of the shortage predicted by some media when the ban was announced. Instead, "a record number" of the operations is expected this year. Still, the former deputy health minister is not sure that executed prisoners will never be used.

"As far as I know, no [doctors] use organs from executed prisoners, and whoever does so will be punished," he said, "But China is a big country. No one can say for sure that there are no bad people out there."

In 2010, China launched a pilot project to facilitate organ transplant donations. This includes a unified computerised network linking 169 hospitals. This way, demand for organs can be matched with the offer.

At the same time, as a result of the economic crisis of recent years, it has not been unusual for some people to sell their organs because of poverty.

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