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Chinese city scraps family consent for body donation

China-city-ISC Beijing, Apr 5 (PTI) Faced with severe shortage of cadavers in medical schools, a major city in China has passed a new regulation to allow body donors to bypass the mandatory family consent provision in the law.

The southern city of Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, has amended the previous regulation which required consent from all direct relatives before a body was donated, Ouyang Binghui, vice head of the Red Cross Society of Guangzhou.

“The new rule states clearly that a donor can decide about his own body,” Ouyang was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The family consent provision, which has been adopted in a number of Chinese cities, is thought to have led to many failed donations as tradition-minded family members have vetoed the wishes of deceased donors.

The latest regulation also allows institutions, including nursing homes and residents’ committees, to donate the bodies of elderly people who have decided to donate and have no children or spouse to carry out their wishes after death.

The traditional belief that one’s body must remain complete after death has long hampered organ and body donations in China.

Many Chinese medical students complain that they have little or no experience working on cadavers in university due to a lack of donated bodies.

China has banned the harvesting of transplant?organs?from executed?prisoners?on mandating all hospitals stop using organs from death-row?prisoners.

Ahead of the ban, China also removed a number of economic offences from the category of death sentence as part of its judicial reforms which brought down the number of executions.

Voluntary donation from Chinese citizens has become the major source of?organs?for transplantation, accounting for 80 per cent of the total donated?organs?in 2014.

Statistics show that nearly 1,000 body parts were donated by about 380 citizens in the first two months this year, an increase of 50 per cent compared to the same period in 2014.