Boycott China, say bioethicists

Despite assurances that the practice is winding down, China persists in using organs from executed prisoners. In an editorial in The Lancet, several prominent bioethicists have called upon doctors and scientists to boycott everything related to organ transplants.

“The time has come to bring normal scientific and medical interchange with China concerning transplantation to a halt. We call for a boycott on accepting papers at meetings, publishing papers in journals, and cooperating on research related to transplantation unless it can be verified that the organ source is not an executed prisoner. These steps are admittedly challenging. But the international biomedical community must firmly and boldly challenge the status quo—the barbarous practice of obtaining organs from executed prisoners.”

One of the authors, Arthur Caplan, of the University of Pennsylvania, says that controversial practice will not stop unless international pressure is applied. In fact, he says, China is building an international medical city to capitalise on the medical tourism market with facilities for organ transplants. He declares:

“Using organs from prisoners who are executed on demand to get parts for rich visitors may bring currency to China but it also ought to bring shame. The Chinese people who need transplants deserve a better system as do the hapless prisoners who are being victimized. The rest of the world should say so loudly and clearly.” ~, Sept 30

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