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Strict laws for organ transplants practised in China
Updated: 2006-03-03 09:35

China said it had "rigorous" laws in place for organ transplants, in its first official reaction to reports that Japanese and Malaysians had died from botched Chinese surgeries.

"In respect to organ transplants, China has rigorous laws and regulations," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular briefing.

"Donors, recipients and hospitals must all firmly follow laws and regulations in this area."

His comments came one day after Malaysian media said a number of Malaysian patients had gone to China for transplant operations and died there or after returning home due to complications.

Malaysia's The New Straits Times said that many of the Malaysians who went to China for transplants were elderly, unwell, and unsuited for major surgery.

Japan's health ministry said Monday it was investigating human organ transplants in China after a report that at least seven Japanese died due to treatment there.

Jiji Press news agency said the patients were in their 30s to 50s and died in Shanghai, the northeastern city of Shenyang and the southern city of Changsha from early 2004 to February this year.

China has an increasingly lucrative transplant industry but it is tainted by allegations that the organs of executed prisoners are harvested and sold to hospitals.

China's health ministry has declined to comment on the reports, saying the official in charge would only be available next week.

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