1Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting, Washington, DC.
2Department of Nephrology and Transplantation, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
3Independent China researcher, Munich, Germany.
4Exercise, Health and Performance, Faculty of Health Sciences and Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
5Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting, Washington, DC. firstname.lastname@example.org.
6Heart Transplantation Unit, Department of Cardiac Surgery, Sheba Medical Center and the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel. email@example.com.
Previous publications have described unethical organ procurement procedures in the People's Republic of China. International awareness and condemnation contributed to the announcement abolishing the procurement of organs from executed prisoners starting from January 2015. Eighteen months after the announcement, and aligned with the upcoming International Congress of the Transplantation Society in Hong Kong, this paper revisits the topic and discusses whether the declared reform has indeed been implemented. China has neither addressed nor included in the reform a pledge to end the procurement of organs from prisoners of conscience, nor has the government initiated any legislative amendments. Recent reports have discussed an implausible discrepancy of officially reported steady annual transplant numbers and a steep expansion of the transplant infrastructure in China. This paper expresses the viewpoint that, in the current context, it is not possible to verify the veracity of the announced changes, and it thus remains premature to include China as an ethical partner in the international transplant community. Until we have independent and objective evidence of a complete cessation of unethical organ procurement from prisoners, the medical community has a professional responsibility to maintain the academic embargo on Chinese transplant professionals.