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Nation to tighten regulation of donations
By Cao Desheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-12-14 06:20

Prompted by questionable medical donations shipped to China from two US charities recently, the State quarantine authority yesterday vowed to tighten its supervision of such gifts to avoid low quality items.

Last month, stained bedding, used surgical clothes and expired medical equipment were discovered in the four containers of medical equipment reportedly donated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The instance, which occurred in Beijing and provinces of Hubei, Hebei and Anhui, follows a similar donation in the summer, in which expired equipment, used surgical gloves and bandages were found in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province. This donation 138,000 items worth a total of US$29,000 were reportedly donations from the AGAPE Foundation, a US non-profit humanitarian organization.

In hopes of preventing these sorts of instances from happening in the future, donated medical equipment from the United States must be registered at the US Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine before they enter China.

"Considering the problems discovered in recent foreign donations, particularly in safety, environment and health, the administration has planned to regulate the monitoring of the quality of foreign donations in collaboration with related departments," said Wang Xin, director of the administration's Department of the Quality Inspection and Quarantine.

Local quarantine inspectors discovered the contents of the shoddy medical goods in November, after they were sent to charity organizations in Beijing, Anhui, and Hubei provinces.

Wang said his administration has banned importing donations from AGAPE, noting all the medical equipment donated by AGAPE were burned on October 21.

The LDS foundation of the US has agreed to investigate the matter and get the donations returned, said Wang.

(China Daily 12/14/2005 page2)

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