China to End Use of Prisoners' Organs for Transplants in Mid-2014

China to End Use of Prisoners' Organs for Transplants in Mid-2014

HANGZHOU, China (Reuters) – China plans to end its controversial practice of using the organs of executed prisoners for transplants by around the middle of next year, a senior official told Reuters on Saturday.

China is the only country that still systematically takes organs from executed prisoners for use in transplant operations, a decades-long practice that has drawn widespread international criticism.

Beijing said in August it would begin to phase out the practice this month, and health officials have previously said China must stop using dead inmates’ organs to “build a positive image that benefits the country.”

By mid-2014, all hospitals licensed for organ transplants will be required to stop using organs from executed prisoners and only use those voluntarily donated and allocated through a fledging national system, said Huang Jiefu, former deputy health minister who heads the organ transplant reform.

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