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China Daily Website

Harsher crackdown on illegal organ transplants

Updated: 2012-08-13 15:42
( Xinhua)

BEIJING - China's Health Ministry on Monday vowed to cooperate with police investigations into medical institutions and workers involved in instances of illegal human organ transplants.

Police will announce the list of hospitals and doctors involved in some recently-uncovered human organ trafficking rings, Deng Haihua, the ministry's spokesman, said at a press conference here.

The ministry will work with judicial departments to punish those who have violated professional codes, Deng said.

Chinese police said early this month that 137 suspects had been arrested in the latest crackdown on human organ trafficking jointly conducted by 18 provincial police authorities in late July. Police rescued 127 organ suppliers in the operation.

Police said the detained suspects illegally recruited suppliers over the Internet, facilitated the deals and made huge profits from the transactions.

Also, a court in central China's Hunan Province on Friday concluded the trial of nine people involved in the illegal trade of a teenager's kidney. A surgeon, two nurses, a surgical assistant and an anesthesiologist were charged.

The ministry will also step up efforts to prevent unqualified medical institutions from human organ transplant activity and to prevent medical workers from conducting illegal transplant surgeries, Deng said.

Statistics from the Health Ministry show that about 1.5 million Chinese people need organ transplants, but only around 10,000 transplants are performed annually due to a lack of donors.

The huge gap has led to a thriving illegal market for human organs, though the government has repeatedly pledged that it will improve its regulations on organ transplants and increase the country's organ supply.

In the spring of 2007, China's central government issued its first national-level regulations on human organ transplants, banning organizations and individuals from trading human organs in any form.

The 2011 amendments to China's Criminal Law also introduced three clauses dedicated to organ-related crimes, under which convicted organizers of organ trafficking activities may face fines and prison terms of more than five years.

Under the law, criminals convicted of "forced organ removal, forced organ donation or organ removal from juveniles" could face punishment for homicide.