China’s Health Ministry and the Red Cross Society of China launched a national organ donation system in order to reduce reliance on organs from inmates on death row, AP reported, citing state media. The English-language China Daily reported on Wednesday that 65% of transplanted organs in China come from executed criminals, however some human rights groups estimate the number could be as high as 90%. The report quoted Vice Health Minister Huang Jiefu as saying prisoners were “definitely not a proper source for organ transplants.” Voluntary organ donations are rare in China with only some 10,000 operations performed annually. About 1.5 million people need transplants. The new donor system, launched Tuesday, is aimed at increasing transparency in an industry criticized by foreign medical and human rights groups.
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