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China promotes human organ donation, transplantation

Citizens came to mourn for the organ donors at the provincial organ donor monument on which the names of 272 donors of bodies, organs, and corneas are engraved in northwest China’s Gansu Province before the Qingming Festival, or Tomb-Sweeping Day, which falls on April 4 this year.

Traditionally, Chinese society believes that a burial brings peace to the deceased, so the donation of bodies and human organs was once difficult to accept, said Ren Jinquan, vice president of the Red Cross Society of China, Gansu Branch.

However, in recent years, this phenomenon has gradually changed, with a marked increase in the number of volunteers registering for body and organ donation, many of whom are young people and college students, Ren said.

“The moment I donate my organs, it means that my life will continue, and patients who need organs may get reborn,” said Chen Gang, a PhD student at Lanzhou University who signed his name on the body donation registration form.

Data from the China Organ Donation Administrative Center shows that, as of March 30 this year, over 6.71 million people in China have registered as volunteers to donate bodies and human organs.

According to the Red Cross Society of China, Gansu Branch, there were only 80 registered body and organ donation volunteers in the province before 2014. Now, the number reached 112,000 by the end of 2023.

China has formed a relatively mature organ donation and transplantation system. Since 2010, China has established five major systems for human organ donation, acquisition and distribution, transplantation clinical services, transplantation quality control, and donation and transplantation supervision.

To better ensure the healthy development of organ donation and transplantation, China has also revised the Regulations on Human Organ Transplantation, which will come into effect on May 1 this year.

“China’s human organ distribution and sharing computer system can automatically match the list of patients who best meet the conditions of organ transplantation in a few seconds, which greatly shortens the distribution time from organ donation to transplantation and ensures the openness, fairness, and justice of organ donation and transplantation,” said Jiao Zuoyi, deputy dean of the Second Hospital, Lanzhou University.

The technology and quality of organ transplantation in China has also gradually improved. For example, split liver transplantation technology has been maturely applied in medical institutions in central China’s Hubei Province and east China’s Jiangsu Province.

In January, the Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, and Huazhong University of Science and Technology performed surgeries with such technology, giving hope to two patients with liver failure.

Data from the China Organ Donation Administrative Center shows that as of March 30 this year, China has completed 51,776 cases of organ donations from the deceased, with more than 159,115 human organs donated.

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