Official Says There Could be Some Illicit Organ Trafficking in China

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Huang Jiefu, an official in charge of overhauling China’s organ transplant programme, claims their could be some people breaking the law and using executed prisoners’ organs.

Rights activists are outraged as Huang Jiefu, an official in charge of overhauling China’s organ transplant network claims that statistically, in a country of 1.3 billion people, some people could be breaking the law and using executed prisoners’ organs, even though there is practically zero tolerance for the practice.

Jiefu’s Claim

Human rights activists voiced strong objections against Jiefu’s inclusion at a Vatican summit that was designed to tackle illegal organ trafficking. They claimed that his inclusion could give an “air of legitimacy” to the practices of illicit organ trafficking.

Jiefu responded on Tuesday, saying that the controversy was “ridiculous.” He repeatedly said that the use of organs from prisoners is now forbidden.

“There is zero tolerance. However, China is a big country with 1.3 billion population so I am sure, definitely, there is some violation of the law,” he told reporters at a conference in Rome.

China’s Alleged Organ Trafficking

Jeifu said that trafficking could possibly come from the creation of a global taskforce headed by the World Health Organization.

However, some other experts questioned this, claiming that China’s possible systematic use of executed prisoners’ organs occurs in order to meet an overwhelming demand of organ donors.

At an international conference last year, two doctors claimed it was a premature move to declare China an ethical partner in the international transplant community, which sparked a debate about China’s alleged use of prisoners’ organs.

According to Nicholas Bequelin, the east Asia director for Amnesty Inernational, said that it was well known that the majority of organ transplants in China came from executed prisoners.

He said the estimated number of annual executions ranged from 3,000 to 7,000. He criticized Huang’s claim that the practice had been outlawed, saying: “They haven’t stopped the practice and won’t stop. They have a need for organ transplants that far outpace the availability of organs.”