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China mulls further encouraging body donation

(Xinhua)    09:20, August 23, 2019

BEIJING, Aug. 22 -- China is mulling further encouraging body donation in the draft section of personality rights of the civil code, which is under its third reading at the top legislature.

The draft is among bills submitted Thursday to the bimonthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for review.

The spouse, adult children and parents of a deceased person can decide, in accord and in writing, to donate the body, unless the person expressed disapproval before death, according to a new clause added to the draft.

The draft says that people with full capacity for civil conduct shall have the right to decide of their own will to donate the cells, tissues and organs of the body or the whole body. No organization or individual should deceive, lure or coerce others to donate.

Body donors are required to make a written donation agreement or other validated wills, according to the draft.

China's body donation program started in the early 1980s. The traditional beliefs and lack of knowledge on donation procedures have hampered donations.

Chinese have traditionally held that a person's body should remain intact, and they see a traditional burial as an obligation of filial piety toward their elders.

As the laws and the overall environment for donation continue to improve, and people's attitudes on funeral customs are gradually changing, body donations have become more acceptable in the country.

China's body donation rate rose from 0.03 to 4.53 donors per million in the past decade, with the number of registered body and organ donors exceeding 1.16 million by the end of March, according to the China Organ Donation Administrative Center.

The draft has also gone a step further in regulating scientific studies related to human genes or embryos by banning such activities from "harming public interests."

Those who conduct medical or scientific studies related to human genes or embryos shall abide by laws, administrative rules and relevant regulations, the draft says, adding that people's health shall not be harmed, ethical and moral standards shall not be violated and public interests shall not be harmed.

The clause on human gene and embryo-related studies was first included in a draft of the personality rights section submitted to the legislature's session in April, marking the first time for China to make a fundamental regulation concerning such issues in civil legislation.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Zhao Tong, Du Mingming)

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