In response to concerns voiced by various international bodies on the subject of Human Rights, an official announcement was made this Thursday to the effect that China will be terminating organ collection from condemned prisoners.
China is one of the countries with the lowest organ donation rate in the world. In order to compensate for the shortage of organs, it adjusted requirements in line with organs collected from condemned prisoners.
Several bodies and international organisations have asked China to review its organ donation system in the light of ethical questions raised about such practices. Thus, last year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights received a petition signed by over one million people from the NGO Doctor against forced organ harvesting (DAFOH). This petition called for the immediate termination of organ donations from prisoners executed in China (See Gènéthique 03.12.2014 press review). Furthermore, the European Parliament Sub-Committee on Human Rights wished to draw attention to organ trafficking, present on an international scale and particularly in China, due to “international criminal networks making a profit from the sale of human organs” (See Gènéthique 19.02.2014 press review).
China launched a volunteer programme last March.
Although the Government has announced that organs will no longer be collected from condemned prisoners with effect from 1 January 2015, it is unable to comment how it will offset organ shortage.