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Expert dismisses 'organ harvesting' rumors

(CRI Online)    08:28, August 23, 2016

China's point man on organ donations is moving to rebuff suggestions Chinese authorities are taking part in "organ harvesting."

And at the same time, he's also calling for upgrades to the rules governing organ transplants in China.

Huang Jiefu, director of the China Organ Transplant Development Foundation, has told an international symposium on transplants in Hong Kong that persistent reports of organ harvesting taking place in China are simply not true.

The rumor about organ harvesting first appeared over decade ago, then the US Consulate in Liaoning launched its own probe into the reports.

That probe eventually determined in 2006 that the rumors being spread were completely fabricated.

However, a decade on, the allegations are still being put out.

Huang Jiefu, who is also a former vice-Minister of Health, says these types of rumors are an insult to Chinese transplant professionals, who he says are widely respected among the international medical community.

"So that means the majority of the just force of the international society always support us, stand side by side with us. This is the mainstream. However, we still have some, I don't want to mention the organization's name. They have some personal, political agendas, always malicious attack or distorted reports. So I don't worry about that, because I have just mentioned, we just do our things properly, and concentrate our mind and energy to do these things," said Huang.

In an effort to further promote organ donations in China, authorities put an end to the practice of harvesting organs from death row inmates last year.

Since then, only organs donated from individual citizens are allowed to be transplanted in China.

The move has seen a marked increase in organ donation awareness.

Close to 2700 people donated organs last year in China, which is more than double the total number of donations from 2013 and 2014.

And through the first half of this year, around 1800 organs have already been donated, representing a rise of some 45% compared to the same period last year.

However, even if projections of some 4-thousand organ donations this year are met, it’s still not nearly enough to keep up with demand.

While around 10000 organ transplants were conducted in China last year, its estimated this only covers around one-tenth of those in need.

Huang Jiefu says while organ donations need to continue increasing, so too does the health care system in China.

"Our legislation lags behind the progress of the technical part. It's a main reason. And backward is not our traditional culture, but it's our management system, administrative system,” said Huang.

Right now only 169 hospitals in China are allowed to conduct organ transplants.

However, these hospitals were still able to account for over 8% of the total number of transplants performed world-wide last year.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor: Yuan Can,Bianji)

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