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Saturday, December 2nd 2006

China Bans Transplant Tourism

Well, at least we still have one place to go. But, in a move to improve the country’s perception for the 2008 Olympic Games, China has agreed to crackdown on foreigners coming to China to buy organs.

At a summit on transplants in Guangzhou in mid-November, the Chinese government declared: “Payments for organs and transplant tourism are not permitted”.

The declaration further specified that written consent must be obtained from donors, or from the family if the donor cannot consent. Chinese nationals will receive priority, and foreigners will only be treated under special circumstances. The declaration, which becomes law on 1 January, will severely tighten restrictions on China’s transplant surgeons, and transplant facilities will be regularly inspected to ensure compliance.

Most of the “tourists” were Chinese ex-pats and the sons and daughters of Chinese immigrants (especially to the U.S.) who return when in need of a transplantation. The cultural divide between the east and west, apparently, often was a boundary to westerners buying organs in China.

China also had a major problem previously, which you may remember posts on, in the fact that most of the organs were coming from executed prisoners whose families had not consented to donation. They had previously promised to crackdown on this practice as well.