HONG KONG, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- Wild speculation that 100,000 transplants were performed per year using organs from executed prisoners is an insult to the intelligence of transplant professionals and to the sacrifice of the donors and their families in China, a Chinese expert said on Monday.
Speaking at a plenary session of the 26th International Congress of the Transplantation Society, Huang Jiefu, director of China's National Organ Donation and Transplantation Committee and former vice minister in the Chinese Ministry of Health, said the country performed 10,057 organ transplants last year, around 8.38 percent of the global total.
The number matches China's use of immunosuppressive agents, a must-have drug for patients after their transplant surgeries. China accounted for some 8 percent of the global immunosuppressant market, he said.
Introducing China's decade-long organ donation reform to the audience, Huang said the transition of organ source from death-row inmates to the voluntary community-based organ donation has been realized and an ethical preliminary national organ donation and transplantation system established, adding the country's progress has been recognized by the international society.
In 2015, 2,766 cases of organ donation after the death of citizens were recorded, more than the total number in year 2013 and 2014 combined. In the first seven months of 2016, 2152 cases were recorded, 49.2 percent up from the same period last year, with predictions for the whole year at about 4,000.
Huang reiterated that starting from Jan. 1, 2015, death penalty prisoner's organs are not allowed to be used under any circumstances, and community-based Chinese citizen organ donation has become the only legitimate source of transplantable organs in China.
Since 2007, China has cracked down on 32 unlawful intermediaries, arrested 158 criminal suspects, investigated 17 medical institutions with 44 medical staff involved and their medical licenses revoked, and 13 black-market dens have been eradicated, he said, calling on the international audience to report any illegal activity, in a show of resolve from the Chinese government.
Meanwhile, he admitted that the achievement of China's transplant reform is only preliminary, and is only the first step of a long journey, with formidable tasks ahead.
However, political commitment of China's leadership, public support and dedication of the medical staff, as well as traditional virtues of the Chinese nation, are sources of confidence for promoters of the reform, he said.
Statistics show that China now has the most organ donations per year in Asia and the third highest number globally. In addition, it is performing the second highest number of organ transplants in the world per year after the United States.
The Transplantation Society is a non-governmental organization which serves as an international forum for the world-wide advancement of organ transplantation, with over 6,700 members composed of professionals with an active interest in basic science, clinical research and/or improving clinical practice in the field of transplantation.
A biennial congress of the TTS is held every two years grouping together over 5,000 participants. This year's congress is held in Hong Kong from Aug. 18 to 23, the first time the congress is held in China.