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China restricts human organ transplants from prisoners

[JURIST] The Chinese Medical Association (CMA) [profession website] agreed at a meeting of the World Medical Association [profession website] in Copenhagen Friday to end the harvesting of organs from prisoners, except for transplant into close relatives. In a letter to the World Medical Association, the CMA promised to increase oversight of China's organ transplant practices and to clamp down on violations of government regulations. AP has more.

China's organ donation policies have long been criticized by international human rights groups, which allege that China routinely harvests organs [JURIST report] from executed criminals and accident victims without the consent of the donors' families, a charge that China has long denied. In March, an anonymous senior Chinese Supreme Court [official website] official said [JURIST report] that China uses the same strict organ donation procedures when accepting organs from executed criminals as it does with any other organ donations, but doubt exists as to how the requirement for informed consent [JURIST report] is enforced. In March 2006, 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, 2006. The Ministry also issued new regulations [JURIST report] in August 2006 to counter unauthorized international trade in organs, including rules that would restrict the number of hospitals permitted to perform transplants. China officially banned the sale of human organs in May following an April 6 decision [JURIST report] by the State Council [official website].

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