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China continues to harvest organs of prisoners: report

[JURIST] China continues to harvest organs from prisoners and those opposed to the Chinese Communist Party, according to a report [report, PDF] released on Wednesday. The report, by David Kilgour, David Matas and Ethan Gutman, relies upon statements and publicly available records in coming to its conclusion, including interviews with doctors claiming to have performed thousands of transplants throughout their careers. While the Chinese government contends that around 10,000 legal transplants occur per year, the report estimates that anywhere from 60,000 to 100,000 organ transplants occur in Chinese hospitals. The authors claim that more than 10,000 organ transplants are attributable to China's several largest hospitals alone. According to the report, the discrepancy in the numbers is the result of China's attempts to cover up the execution and organ harvesting of prisoners, many of which are imprisoned based upon their religious or political beliefs. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that "such stories about forced organ harvesting in China are imaginary and baseless—they don't have any factual foundation." If true, the report would implicate severe human rights violations by the Chinese government, which claims to rely almost entirely on a voluntary donation system since it faced heightened scrutiny [JURIST report] in recent years for the practice of harvesting organs from political dissidents.

In 2009, it was reported that 65 percent of China's organ donations [JURIST report] came from executed prisoners. China pledged in 2007 at a World Medical Association [profession website] meeting to end the practice [JURIST report] of harvesting prisoners' organs, except for donations to relatives. This decision came after criticism by the British Transplantation Society [advocacy website], which accused China [JURIST report] of selling organs harvested from executed prisoners. China denied these and other allegations [JURIST report], saying that all donors must give consent before their organs are used.

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