New Era for Organ Donation and Transplant in China

By: Peter Morris | Posted on: 2nd January 2013

The latest World Health Organization bulletin publishes an interview with Haibo Wang who is the Director of the China Organ Transplant Response System Research Centre for the Ministry of Health, a position he has held since 2011. He is interviewed by Fiona Fleck of the WHO and it is a very interesting interview, particularly with respect to the first question concerning the use of executed prisoners for transplantation. Dr Wang confirms that executed prisoners are being used as a source of organs but he is hoping that the new organ donation system will lead to the development of an ethical and sustainable organ donation system and hence  the disappearance of organs from executed prisoners. However he makes the point that executed prisoners do have the right before execution of agreeing to donate organs. He expects that the implementation of the new national system, which will start early in 2013 will lead to the phasing out of old practises. This will be an opt-in system and not an opt-out system. The rest of the interview deals with legislation, transparency and the barriers to the success of the new system as well as the definition of death in China. It is a very interesting and frank interview with Dr Wang and well worth reading.

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