China has announced it will stop relying on organs from executed prisoners within the next two years, putting an end to the lucrative trade which many rich Chinese and foreigners take advantage of for transplants.
Huang Jiefu, China's vice health minister, issued a statement saying: "Chinese organ transplants will completely end their reliance on donations from executed prisoners within two years" Naharnet reported.
Interestingly this brings forward the time-table announced earlier this year when the BBC reported China pledged to cease the practice within five years.
Instead of relying on prisoners organs China is establishing a voluntary organ donation system. Since 2007 an official ban has been in place in China on the trade of human organs. However, France 24 reported that although the number of transplants fell with the introduction of the ban, an intermediary between foreign organ seekers and Chinese hospitals said: "These transplants are illegal, and there is growing pressure from other countries, so now they operate only in secret.” He added "it is no problem getting organs" from "villages, and people who have been executed.”According to the Guardian traffickers are flouting the law and many patients still head to China, paying up to $200,000 for a kidney transplant. Data from the World Health Organization indicates illegal organ sales account for 10 percent of all transplants worldwide.