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China says Britain also harvested prisoners' organs

By Staff
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BEIJING, Apr 20 (Reuters) China today took a swipe at British transplant experts who accused it of removing organs from executed prisoners in order to sell them, saying the same practice used to happen in Britain.

The British Transplantation Society said yesterday there was an accumulating body of evidence that suggested organs of executed Chinese prisoners were being removed for transplants and sold without the prior consent of the prisoners or their families.

''I want to remind this organisation not to forget that a few years ago this kind of thing happened in Britain,'' Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular news conference.

Qin said he could not understand why the society raised the issue now.

Human rights groups have also criticised the use of organs from executed prisoners in China and its hospitals that have allegedly turned to organ sales and transplants to raise funds.

On Tuesday, Qin said there had been cases where organs of executed prisoners were used without their consent. But he said the cases were rare and against the law.

Last month, China said it would ban the sale of human organs and strengthen procedures for transplants by requiring written consent and limiting the number of hospitals carrying out transplant surgery.

REUTERS SHB BST1720

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