China's first set of regulations on human organ transplant, which prohibits
organizations and individuals from trading human organs in any form, went into
effect on Tuesday.
Any doctor found to be involved in human organ trade will have their
practitioner license revoked, according to the regulations issued by the State
Council, China's cabinet. Clinics will be suspended from doing organ transplant
operations for at least three years. Fines are set at between eight to ten times
the value of the outlawed trade, the regulations say.
Officials convicted of trading in human organs will be sacked and kicked out
of the government.
China has carried out organ transplants for more than 20 years and is the
world's second largest performer of transplants after the United States, with
about 5,000 transplants operated each year.
Most organs are donated by ordinary Chinese at death after the voluntary
signing of a donation agreement.
But the country faces a huge gap between the demand for functional organs and
the supply of donations. About 1.5 million patients need organ transplants each
year, but only 10,000 can find organs, according to statistics from the Ministry
The regulations stipulate that human organ transplants should respect the
principle of free will. And it is made a crime to harvest organs without the
owner's permission or will.
Human organ transplants are defined as the process of taking a human organ or
part of a human organ -- such as the heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas --
from a donor and transplanting it into a patient's body to replace their sick or
The regulations do not apply to transplants of human tissue, such as cells,
cornea and marrow.
The set of regulations comprises 32 articles in five chapters, including
human organ donations, human organ transplants, legal responsibilities and
The regulations clarify strict supervision and control for the few medical
institutions that are allowed to perform organ transplants, and set rules to
standardize procedures so as to prevent potential human rights abuses.
According to the regulations, every transplant must be approved by an ethics
committee set up in the medical institution. A designated mechanism will
ensure that medical institutions are competent. Unqualified institutions will be
ordered to exit the market.
Along with the regulations on organ transplant, a new set of regulations to
promote employment opportunities for China's 83 million handicapped people also
took effect on Tuesday.
The regulations issued in February by the State Council require that
handicapped people make up no less than 1.5 percent of the work force of
government departments, enterprises and institutions.
Handicapped employees must be given equal promotion opportunities and equal
salaries and social insurance.
Statistics show that China has 82.96 million handicapped people but only
22.66 million are employed. The number of handicapped people increases by
300,000 a year.
Government departments, institutions and enterprises that employ more
handicapped people will enjoy preferential taxation and other policies, said the
Self-employed handicapped will enjoy preferential treatment in taxation and
other management and registration charges. They can also get small loans when
starting their own businesses, according to the regulations.
Also on Tuesday, a series of ministry regulations went into effect, covering
food safety, supply of drinkable water and advertisement of new