April 21, 2024


In response to international pressure, China has revised its regulations for organ transplants. The State Council, or Cabinet, has banned the sale of human organs for profit, donations by people under 18, and the use of organs without informed consent.

However, human rights groups were sceptical of genuine improvements in China’s opaque system for obtaining organs. The official news agency Xinhua maintains that most come from deceased donors who have voluntarily donated. While this may be true, in 90% of these cases, the cause of decease is a judicial execution. If so, voluntary consent is virtually meaningless, claims Nicholas Bequelin, of Human Rights Watch.

Chinese legislators have been pushing for new laws to regulate and promote voluntary donation to prevent abuses. However, the rate of voluntary donation is very low, due in part to a cultural bias against removing organs before burial.