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August 26, 2009

"Executed prisoners are main source of Chinese organ donations"

The title of this post is the headline of this new piece from The Guardian.  Here are the basic details:

Two-thirds of organ donors in China are executed prisoners, state media reported today, as health officials launched a national donation system.  The authorities have previously acknowledged that corneas, kidneys and other body parts from criminals have been transplanted.  But the new figure offers a startling insight into the scale of the country's reliance on death-row inmates, despite laws supposed to curb the use of their organs.

Officials hope the new scheme will tackle the thriving black market in body parts, and encourage voluntary donation, which remains far below demand.  The state newspaper China Daily said that about one million people needed transplants each year — but only 1% received them....

Two years ago, China ruled that organs from executed prisoners would be given only to family members, and that living donors could give body parts only to relatives or those with an "emotional connection"....

A World Medical Association agreement — signed by China among others — asks countries not to use organs from death-row prisoners because of concerns about whether they have truly given informed consent. "The implementation of the death penalty is completely opaque in China — there is absolutely no transparency," said Phelim Kine, Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch. "Therefore, there is a complete lack of transparency with regard to transplantation and the disposal of the organs of death-row prisoners, whom we now know constitute the majority of donors in China."...

The number of people executed in China is a state secret, but Amnesty International said that at least 1,718 people were executed in 2008 — more than in any other country — based on recorded cases.  Human rights groups suggest the true number runs into several thousands, although officials say their "kill fewer, kill carefully" campaign has cut the numbers and have pledged to further reduce use of the death penalty.

August 26, 2009 at 05:55 PM | Permalink


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Some private prison people in Kentucky will needs some new jobs now.

Posted by: George | Aug 27, 2009 4:46:53 PM

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