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Prisoners' Organs Not Used Without Consent
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Health authorities denied yesterday accusations that China removes organs from prisoners on death row to use in for transplant surgery. .


At a press conference yesterday, Ministry of Health spokesman Mao Qun'an, said that organs used in transplant surgery came from voluntary donations made by citizens.


"For a fraction of inmates who have committed serious crimes and are awaiting the death penalty body organs could be used but only if they sign a medical release document or if their families approve," he said. "It also needs the approval of the appropriate administrative and judiciary departments after strict scrutiny has been conducted."


Mao said the process is the same as if the donation was made by an ordinary citizen in advance. He accused some foreign media outlets yesterday of fabricating the news and misinforming the public.


The Ministry of Health issued a long-awaited regulation on human organ transplants late last month which explicitly bans the sale of body parts and requires written permission from donors. It also introduced medical guidelines for such procedures.  


"One of the biggest problems in regulating organ transplants in our country is that supervision is scant," Mao admitted.


Potentially there were significant risks for some patients if appropriate standards and controls did not accompany the new medical procedures, he added.


(China Daily April 11, 2006)

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