Illegal Organ Harvesting Is Coming To An End In China

Illegal Organ Harvesting Is Coming To An End In China

Long accused of harvesting the organs of prisoners on death row to be sold to the highest bidder, China appears to have cleaned up its act, the Washington Post reports. China has been castigated by the international community for building the world’s second-largest—but basically unregulated—transplant industry by harvesting thousands of organs from condemned inmates, including political prisoners, each year. China vowed to stop the practice in 2014 and now, thanks to a decade of effort by Huang Jiefu, a former deputy health minister in China, and a Chicago surgeon, China has a “transparent” online registry of voluntary donors and a database that matches recipients, per the Post. Huang says the “game of wealth and power” of illegal organ allocation is over, though Chinese law does not explicitly prevent using the organs of convicted prisoners.

Former critics are slowly coming around. The former chief of the Transplantation Society says he sees a “substantial change in China” which is going “in the right direction.” But not everyone is convinced. A Chinese lawyer says a prisoner facing execution was forced to “voluntarily” donate his organs last November, and a report in June 2016 accused China of continuing the practice, per CNN. A US House resolution passed just last year condemned China’s “state-sanctioned” secret organ harvesting. And in February of this year, Huang acknowledged at a Vatican summit that illegal organ transplants may still be taking place in a “big country” like China, per Newsweek. WHO advisor Dr. Francis Delmonico told PBS in May that while death row harvesting is “markedly reduced” in China, he could not say for sure it has “completely stopped.”


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