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NPC Deputies Call for Law to Regulate Organ Transplant
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China needs a law on organ transplant to regulate donation procedures, and encourage and facilitate people to become donors, lawmakers said on the sidelines of the annual plenary session of the National People's Congress (NPC).

NPC deputy Li Bangliang, board chairman of East China Pharmaceutical Group Corporation, said a proper law is needed to guide the public how to donate their organs if they have such an intention.

"With a large number of organs in need, some people want to donate but often run into difficulties in the application process, " said Li, adding a specific law should be enacted to standardize the application and transplant process."

China is faced with a huge gap between the patients who need functional organs and limited donations. About 1.5 million patients need organ transplant each year, but only 10,000 can find organs for transplant, according to statistics from the Ministry of Health.

Most organs were donated by ordinary citizens upon their death after the voluntary signing of donation agreements. It is strictly prohibited in China for illegal organ transplant, said Huang Jiefu, China's vice health minister.

Experts believe that the concept of dead-brain declaration will greatly promote organ transplant.

However, Chinese people's traditional view of "living till the last breath" has restrained living human organ supply, said NPC deputy Chen Haixiao, head of Taizhou Hospital in China's eastern Zhejiang Province.

"Social customs are a big reason," said Chen, explaining that many Chinese are unwilling to donate organs because they consider the stop of breath and heartbeat the standard of death.

He suggested the law allow doctors to declare people brain dead so their organs can be used to save the lives of people suffering the prostration of an organ.

"It will benefit many patients if the public can take the donation as a charity," said Chen.

Actually, the Ministry of Health in 2006 drafted a set of regulations on human organ transplant to the State Council for revision and improvement.

(Xinhua News Agency March 9, 2007)

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