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China court official insists organ donation by executed prisoners strictly regulated

[JURIST] China uses the same strict organ donation procedures when accepting organs from executed criminals as any other organ donations, an anonymous senior Chinese Supreme Court [official website] official told the state Xinhua News Agency on Tuesday. The court official said that China only harvests organs from executed criminals when either the criminal or their family consents, and the consent forms are subject to the same judicial scrutiny. The official also said that most organ donors are ordinary citizens who agree to donate organs in their wills. Xinhua has more.

These statements seem to conflict with previous admissions from Chinese officials that the majority of organs for transplant come from executed prisoners. While China formally requires informed consent [JURIST report] from the prisoners or their families, doubt exists as to how the procedures are enforced. In November 2006, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] demanded that China disclose organ donor statistics [JURIST report] to the public. Other critics have suggested that the organ trade is a lucrative black-market business in China relatively ignored by officials. Late last year China's State Council [official backgrounder] considered establishing a national agency to regulate organ transplants [JURIST report] in response to international pressure.

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