Thursday, August 18, 2016

Transplant surgeons meet in Hong Kong amid questions about China's continued use of organs from executed prisoners

The NY Times has the story: Debate Flares on China’s Use of Prisoners’ Organs as Experts Meet in Hong Kong

It discusses a recent article in the American Journal of Transplantation:
Transplant Medicine in China: Need for Transparency and International Scrutiny Remains by T. Trey, A. Sharif, A. Schwarz, M. Fiatarone Singh, and J. Lavee

Here's the abstract of the article:
"Previous publications have described unethical organ procurement procedures in the People's Republic of China. International awareness and condemnation contributed to the announcement abolishing the procurement of organs from executed prisoners starting from January 2015. Eighteen months after the announcement, and aligned with the upcoming International Congress of the Transplantation Society in Hong Kong, this paper revisits the topic and discusses whether the declared reform has indeed been implemented. It is noticeable that China has neither addressed nor included in the reform a pledge to end the procurement of organs from prisoners of conscience, nor have they initiated any legislative amendments. Recent reports have discussed an implausible discrepancy of officially reported steady annual transplant numbers and a steep expansion of the transplant infrastructure in China. This paper expresses the viewpoint that, in the current context, it is not possible to verify the veracity of the announced changes and it thus remains premature to include China as an ethical partner in the international transplant community. Until we have independent and objective evidence of a complete cessation of unethical organ procurement from prisoners, the medical community has a professional responsibility to maintain the academic embargo on Chinese transplant professionals."

The NY Times story includes this:
"In an interview conducted on the messaging app WeChat, Huang Jiefu, a senior Chinese transplant official and a former deputy minister of health, appeared to defend the changes but simultaneously acknowledge they were far from perfect.

“We have finished walking the first step of a long march of 10,000 li, the task is heavy and the road far, but we are walking on a path of light,” he wrote. "

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