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China begins phasing out prisoner organs next year

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November 1, 2012 11:57 PM EST | AP


BEIJING — A health official says China will early next year start phasing out its reliance on organs from executed prisoners for transplants as a new national system of donations is implemented.

Wang Haibo says in an interview in the November edition of the World Health Organization's journal Bulletin that Chinese officials acknowledge that a transplantation system that uses mostly organs from death-row prisoners is neither ethical nor sustainable.

Wang is a Health Ministry official who is leading the country's efforts to design a nationwide organ donation system.

Organ transplantation in China has long been criticized as opaque, profit-driven and unethical. Critics argue death row inmates may feel pressured to become donors, violating personal, religious or cultural beliefs.