China Red Cross in 'cash-for-organs' allegations

China Featured - July 10th, 2013

Local branches of China’s Red Cross demand money from hospitals in exchange of organ donations, Chinese media have alleged.

A report in Monday’s Beijing News said the state-run body require hospitals to donate various amounts of money before it helps arrange organ donations.

The branches do not disclose to the public how they spend the donations, the report said.

A hospital employee in the southern city of Guangzhou said the average donation for obtaining an organ was 100,000 yuan ($16,000).

The Shenzhen branch of the Red Cross Society said in a statement to Xinhua news agency on Monday that it has worked on 25 cases with the General Hospital of Guangzhou Military Area Command and the hospital has decided to donate 150,000 yuan for the donors.

The branch denied a 100,000 yuan-per-organ arrangement exists and donation usage is always disclosed to the hospitals in detailed expense statements, it said.

Li Jingdong from the Guangdong branch of the Red Cross Society said Red Cross branches raise donations to help organ donors and their families, but that there is no “donation for resources” policy, Xinhua reports.

Demand for transplants in China is high, with the population rapidly aging. But supply is low because of Chinese beliefs meaning many wish to keep a complete body when they die because they will be reincarnated.

The shortfall opens the way to forced donations and illegal sales, while China still collects organs from executed prisoners, according to AFP.