The Chinese government has launched a new campaign to prevent illegal blood collection, which once caused the spread of HIV/AIDS in central China.
"More efforts should be made to crack down on unlicensed blood collection and supply activities and those who organize illegal blood collection or force people to sell blood should be severely punished," said a statement jointly issued on Friday by China's health and public security authorities.
In the mid-1990s, illegal blood collection caused the spread of HIV/AIDS among rural residents in areas of central China.
Since 1995, China has promulgated a series of laws and regulations to secure blood safety, and lab testing has been required at blood stations across the nation.
The statement said that local health authorities should improve supervision of blood collection stations, especially those located in remote areas to prevent misconduct and malpractice.
"Any stations, which collect or provide blood for clinical use without testing, should be seriously dealt with," the statement said.
Those who collect blood from donors with fake identities should also face punishment, according to the statement.
Earlier reports said that six people in south China's Guangdong Province had been jailed in May for operating an illegal blood donation ring. They forced migrant workers desperate for cash to sell blood up to ten times each month by issuing them with fake identity cards.
A law introduced in 1998 forbids donors from giving blood more than once every six months.
The statement also told the drug safety watchdog to improve the administration of pharmaceutical companies which produce and sell drugs that contain human blood.
To standardize blood collection activities, the Ministry of Health issued a regulation last November, setting out detailed rules on lab testing, the storage and transportation of blood plasma and the timely reporting of any adverse reactions.
Ninety-five percent of blood collected for clinical use in China came from voluntary donation in 2005, according to the health ministry.
(Xinhua News Agency June 9, 2007)