China phasing out prisoner organ harvesting
Last week Chinese health officials have been quoted as saying that the use of organs from executed prisoners for transplants will be gradually phased out over the next five years.
China carries out the largest number of prisoner executions every year of any country in the world – the actual figures are not known but Amnesty International estimates that they far exceed the number of prisoners executed by all other countries put together.
Voluntary organ donations are currently scarce in China for cultural and religious reasons, and a huge number of people are waiting for transplants. Chinese officials have said that death row prisoners volunteer to give their organs but human rights groups believe that prisoners are pressurised into agreeing to this.