The Useful Dead VI

Remarkable news from China:

BEIJING (AFP) - China will formally ban the trade in human organs from May 1, state media reported, amid ongoing allegations that the nation's military is involved in harvesting organs from executed prisoners.

The regulation, issued by the State Council, or China's cabinet, does not apply to transplants of human tissue such as cells, corneas or bone marrow, the Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.

"This is the first regulation of its kind introduced by the central government, and it is a milestone in the country's organ transplant history," vice health minister Huang Jiefu was quoted as saying...

The new regulation "stipulates that human organ transplants should respect the principle of voluntary and free donation and makes it a crime to harvest organs without the owner's permission or against his will," Xinhua said.

The law, which forbids the use of organs from minors, aims to "safeguard citizens' lawful rights" and ensure the quality of transplant surgery, it added. MORE

It's about time. Some in China have apparently been selling organs harvested from prisoners for some time now. Whether the new law will actually stop this practice remains to be seen, of course. But it's a step.

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