Vatican invitation a response to China’s progress

By Yu Ning Source:Global Times Published: 2017/2/7 23:43:39

The invitation of Huang Jiefu, a former Chinese vice minister of health and current head of the National Human Organ Donation and Transplant Committee, to a Vatican conference on organ trafficking has sparked controversy. In view of the sensitivity of China-Vatican ties and stereotype Western impressions on China's organ transplantation, Vatican's invitation was interpreted as an olive branch extended by the Holy See to improve ties with Beijing but some human rights activists criticized it as "giving a propaganda boost to China" and an "air of legitimacy" to its transplantation program.

China opened a new chapter in organ transplantation since 2015 by banning organ harvest from prisoners. However, some Western forces have continued to demonize China, accusing it of sourcing organs from death-row inmates. There are even rumors that Falun Gong practitioners are being executed for their organs.

At the 26th International Congress of the Transplantation Society in Hong Kong last August, China's organ donation, transplant reform and its achievements were noted. Through unremitting efforts, the country's organ donation system has been greatly improved, and donations have become the only legitimate source of transplants. Any medical institution which carries out transplants of human organs from illegal sources will face punishment. China has made reforms and progress in accordance with World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines and in full compliance with international norms.

The Vatican summit on Tuesday focuses on anti-organ trafficking. As a country with a huge demand for organs, China's commitment to and support for tackling organ trafficking is of great value. Huang has devoted himself to promoting the establishment of a sustainable organ donation system in line with social ethics and the transparency of organ transplants in China. There is no reason to criticize his attendance at the Vatican conference, for he will be sharing Chinese experience with other participants and demonstrating China's resolve in fighting against organ trafficking.

The Vatican's invitation is a response to China's progress. It's understandable that the move may lead to speculation. Huang told the Global Times that he was invited because he is an expert in organ transplants rather than an official. In recent months, there have, indeed, been signs of goodwill in China-Vatican ties.

Keeping smooth and effective dialogue and communications is a common wish of both sides. We are willing to see more communications and cooperation between the two sides. We also hope the international community, especially some Western forces who are prejudiced against China, could make a fair assessment of China's progress.


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