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The Transplantation Society: DAFOH is ‘giving oxygen” to the opponents of change in China

2016-09-29 Source:Kaiwind Author:Philip J O’Connell


Received Date : 06-Sep-2016

Revised Date: 06-Sep-2016

Accepted Date : 06-Sep-2016

Article type: Letter to the Editor

The Transplantation Society believes a policy of engagement will facilitate organ donation reform in China

Philip J O’Connell

Immediate Past President, the Transplantation Society

Nancy Ascher

President, the Transplantation Society

Francis L Delmonico

Past President, the Transplantation Society

Corresponding author: Philip J. O’Connell, philip.oconnell@sydney.edu.au

The Transplantation Society (TTS) was the first professional transplantation organisation to respond to the practice of using organs from executed prisoners for transplantation more than a decade ago [1]. TTS has been instrumental in working with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Health Assembly to develop guidelines for governments to combat organ trafficking and established with the International Society of Nephrology, the Declaration of Istanbul (DOI). This Declaration defined organ trafficking and transplant tourism and presented principles and proposals to effect change. TTS has worked diligently to curtail commercial transplantation and the use of executed prisoners globally and replace this practice with ethical programs of living and deceased organ donation to serve the citizens of every nation.

TTS has been asked by AJT to comment upon the personal opinion piece by Trey and colleagues in this issue of the AJT. In their article, the DAFOH are perpetuating an unproven claim of 100,000 transplants per annum in China, derived from the murder of unnamed followers of the Falun Gong (2). The call by DAFOH for a complete moratorium against interactions with Chinese transplant specialists is exactly counter to the needs of the Chinese community today. DAFOH is ‘giving oxygen” to the opponents of change in China by targeting those who are trying to bring about reform. Transparency of transplantation practice is a WHO Guiding Principle that should apply not only to China but every other country in the world. When the unproven assertions of DAFOH are published in AJT without validation, they serve the interest of those within China that would thwart change and transparency.

For the past 15 years no one can be in doubt about the clear and unequivocal opposition by TTS to the use of organs from executed prisoners [3, 4]. All members of TTS sign an ethics statement that they do not use organs from executed prisoners. Our journals (and those of many other transplant organizations) do not accept papers with data or an experience that could involve the use of executed prisoner organs. TTS congresses do not permit the presentation of studies involving executed prisoners organs and we have clear review mechanisms to prevent such academic recognition.

The results of our strategies have been a decade of change in China that led to the 2015 declaration that Chinese transplant centers would no longer use organs from executed prisoners. The consensus of the WHO, and international transplant professionals who have visited China in the past 2 years is that those tasked with oversight of organ donation and transplantation within China are bringing about reform that is consistent with the WHO guiding principles and the DOI.   In 2005 the Chinese Government created a registration system for transplant centres and reduced their number from more than 600 to 168. The 2007 Chinese State Council Regulations on Transplantation, the Huangzhou Resolution in 2013 and the Chinese regulatory change announced in December 2014 progressively restricted, then ceased the use of executed organs and developed a national program of organ donation after circulatory death. The China Organ Transplant Response System (COTRS) allows the recording of the source of all donors (either deceased or living) and their computerized allocation, which should improve transparency concerning the source and number of donors.

We believe that all transplant professional organizations should join TTS in calling for an objective transparency by all nations, including China, Asia, the West and Middle East as to the source of organ donation and the extent of transplantation tourism. An important first step would be reporting of transplant activity and organ donation to the WHO-ONT global observatory on organ donation and transplantation. With regards to the Chinese transplant community TTS remains strongly committed to engagement with those who are willing to support reform whilst maintaining its firm opposition to the use of organs from executed prisoners and organ trafficking.


The authors of this manuscript have no conflicts of interest to disclose as described by the

American Journal of Transplantation.


1. Najarian JS, Sheil R. Draft report: The use of organs from executed prisoners. The Transplantation Society Bulletin, Dec. 1996, No. 5.

2. Trey T, Sharif A, Schwarz A, Fiatarone Singh M, Lavee J. Transplant medicine in China: Need for transparency and international scrutiny remains. Am J Transplant 2016; IN PRESS-THIS ISSUE

3. Delmonico FL, Capron AM, Danovitch, GM, Levin A, O’Connell PJ. Organ transplantation in China – not yet a new era. Lancet [letter] 2014; 384: 741.

4. Delmonico F, Chapman J, Fung J, et al. Open letter to Xi Jinping, President of the Peoples Republic of China: China’s fight against corruption in organ transplantation. Transplantation 2014, 97: 795–796.

This article has been accepted for publication and undergone full peer review but has not been through the copyediting, typesetting, pagination and proofreading process, which may lead to differences between this version and the Version of Record. Please cite this article as doi: 10.1111/ajt.14050

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Source From: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ajt.14050/epdf