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China Pledges to Stop Taking Organs from Executed Prisoners

Prison officials in China—where prevailing religious beliefs dictate that humans he buried whole after their death—plan to stop taking organs from thousands of prisoners executed every year. But many doubt the practice will entirely cease because the need for organs there is too great.

According to the government-run news agency Xinhua, China will end its reliance on death-row prisoners—who account for two-thirds of the country's transplant organs—within the next five years.

Health ministry figures show that 1.5 million Chinese citizens need organ transplants with only 10,000 performed each year. Because of the dire need for organs, according to human rights groups, death-row prisoners are pressured to violate their own religious beliefs. China's vice minister of health, however, insists that the country is committed to a new national organ donation system that protects the religious freedom of prisoners.

“The pledge to abolish organ donations from condemned prisoners represents the resolve of the government,” Huang Jiefu told Xinhua.

Infections from organ, donated by executed prisoners run high, Huang added, and the general reluctance by China's free world citizens to donate organs has led to a booming black market. To curb illegal organ trafficking, the Red Cross Society of China has suggested offering financial assistance to the families of deceased organ donors.

Source: BBC News

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