China has been accused of harvesting organs from executed prisoners by the British Transplantation Society (BTS). The BTS claimed there is evidence to suggest the removal and sale of organs takes place without the consent of the deceased's families. It said the total number of cases could be in the thousands. "The alleged use of organs from executed prisoners without consent is considered a breach of human rights and is an unacceptable practice," said Stephen Wigmore, chairman of the BTS ethics committee. Last month China said it would ban the sale of human organs and toughen the regulations applied to hospitals carrying out transplants. A Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed that this practice had taken place, although he said cases were rare and illegal.