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China to Regulate Organ Donation, Transplants

China's Ministry of Health is drafting new rules to make organ donation easier for the public.

The regulation will standardize the organ donation procedures and encourage people to become donors.

"Many more donors are needed, but they often meet difficulties when they apply, so the ministry must standardize the application process and technology of transplants, which is complicated and risky," said ministry spokesman Mao Qun'an.

Mao was responding to questions about reports of would-be donors having their wishes unrealized because of confusion over the procedures or which agency to apply to.

The regulation would specify the whole application process and stipulate the requirements for medical institutions conducting transplants.

"Only the medical institutions that meet the technological requirements can undertake transplant surgery," said Mao.

It is estimated that two million Chinese need transplants each year, but only 20,000 operations are conducted because of a shortage of organs.

Foreign media have reported that organs are taken from executed criminals, but the Ministry of Health denied this in April, saying most organs in China had been voluntarily donated by ordinary citizens on their deaths and a small number from executed criminals who voluntarily signed donation approvals.

(Xinhua News Agency September 12, 2006)

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