Organ Harvesting of Inmates in China Still Rife

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Organ harvesting of prisoners remains a problem, admits Vice Health Minister Huang Jiefu on the sidelines of China's annual parliamentary session. He says that executed prisoners remain the main source of organ transplants.

A top health official in China says executed prisoners remain the main source of organs for transplants in China.

State-owned newspaper the Legal Daily quoted the Vice Health Minister Huang Jiefu on Tuesday in Beijing... where Communist Party officials are meeting for the National People's Congress.

Party officials banned trading human organs in 2007. But two years later a donation system was established... with donations coming from death row inmates.

Vice Health Minister Huang admits executed prisoners are "definitely not a proper source for organ transplants."

Also in 2007, the Chinese Medical Association say that organ transplants would no longer come from executed prisoners, unless the prisoners' relatives were in need of a transplant.

But international human rights groups for years have claimed China is continuing to harvest organs from executed prisoners without their consent or that of their surviving family members.

Amnesty International China researcher Sarah Schafer told AFP, Mr. Huang's latest comments suggest "nothing much has changed". She says, "We feel that this lack of progress is quite chilling," and a prison-row inmate is unable to give meaningful consent.

Reports from other human rights groups say the organ harvesting trade is ingrained within the Communist Party itself.

In a recent report by the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong, former Jinzhou City police chief Wang Lijun was awarded for his work in research in ways to carry out organ harvesting. The report says, "Wang Lijun ... actively participated in Human Organ Transplants."

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