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China says it will phase out prisoner organ donations over next 5 years
BEIJING (AP) ' State media are quoting a top health official as saying China will phase out the practice of taking organs from executed prisoners.
The official Xinhua News Agency quoted Vice Health Minister Huang Jiefu as saying Thursday that organ donations from condemned prisoners will be abolished within five years. It said hospitals will rely instead on a national organ donation system that is being set up.
China has a huge population in need of transplants but few donors. Most donations come from condemned prisoners. The government says prisoners volunteer to donate organs but rights groups say there are concerns that inmates are pressured to comply before execution.
China performs more executions annually than any other country.