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China mulls oversight agency for organ transplant system involving prisoners

[JURIST] China's State Council [official backgrounder] is considering a draft resolution that would establish a national agency to regulate organ transplants in the wake of international criticism over Chinese organ transplant practices. Chinese health officials have admitted that the majority of organs for transplant come from executed prisoners, and while China formally requires informed consent [JURIST report] from the prisoners or their families, doubt exists as to how the procedures are enforced. Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) demanded that China disclose organ donor statistics [JURIST report] to the public. Other critics suggest that the organ trade is a lucrative black-market business in China relatively ignored by officials.

In March, the Chinese Ministry of Health [official website, in Chinese] issued a general ban on the sale of human organs [JURIST report] that took effect on July 1. The Ministry also issued new regulations [JURIST report] in August intended to counter unauthorized international trade in organs. The policy changes followed international criticism [JURIST report] that human organs taken from executed prisoners were sold to foreigners. The proposed organ transplant oversight rules would also restrict the number of hospitals permitted to perform transplants. AP has more.

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