Huang Jiefu (3rd R, front), director of China's National Organ Donation and Transplantation Committee and president of China Organ Transplantation Development Foundation attends a summit to combat organ trafficking and transplant tourism in Vatican on Feb. 7, 2017. (Xinhua/Jin Yu)
VATICAN, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- The key to resolve the issue of organ trafficking is legislation and law enforcement, a top Chinese medical expert said Tuesday.
"We believe the key for resolving this issue is legislation and law enforcement," said Dr. Huang Jiefu, chairman of China National Organ Donation and Transplantation Committee, addressing a summit in Vatican on combating organ trafficking.
The 2017 Pontifical Academy Summit aims to develop an alliance of individuals committed to combating organ trafficking and transplant tourism, and engaging health authorities to achieve a prohibition of organ trafficking as "a form of human slavery."
Experts gathered here on Tuesday to discuss the situation of organ trafficking and transplant tourism in a bid to set up further guidelines and ethical rules in curbing illegal activities worldwide.
The summit, organized by the World Federation of the Catholic Medical Associations, hopes to lay the groundwork for moral and appropriate solutions based on human dignity, freedom, justice and peace.
During the summit, Huang presented China's program from 2010 to 2016 which prohibits the use of organs from executed prisoners.
Huang said the total number of deceased donor liver and kidney transplants during the six years were 27,600 and the Chinese health ministry has submitted the detailed statistics to the Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) for public release.
Since Jan. 1, 2015, death penalty prisoner's organs have not been allowed to be used under any circumstances, and community-based Chinese citizen organ donation has become the only legitimate source of transplant organs in China, Huang said.
Huang, former vice health minister, described the transition of organ source from executed prisoners to the voluntary community-based organ donation as "an arduous journey full of joys and sorrows."
In 2007, China issued regulations on voluntary organ donation and banned organ trading.
According to the National Health and Family Planning Commission, China processed 4,080 organ donations in 2016, up nearly 50 percent from a year ago.
China had processed a total of nearly 10,000 organ donations by the end of 2016, while Chinese per million population (PMP) in donation rates reached 2.98.
According to Huang, there used to be hundreds of foreigners coming to China every year for transplant tourism prior to the establishment of the new system.
The Chinese government banned the transplant tourism in 2009 and has been tough in combating these illegal activities.
From 2007 to 2016, authorities formed joint task forces, cracked down on 32 intermediaries, investigated 18 medical institutions, prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned 174 people, including 50 medical personnel, and eradicated 14 black market dens, he said.
On behalf of China, Huang also proposed to establish a WHO task force to help eradicate organ trafficking worldwide.