An article by the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) confirms reports that, on 14 March 2012, China’s National People’s Congress adopted new draft criminal provisions granting new police powers to detain in undisclosed locations, for a period of up to 6 months without charge, suspects deemed a threat to national security, described as “persons who discuss sensitive national issues”.
At the same time, Chinese authorities released public statements to the effect that the practice of transplanting organs from executed prisoners will soon be put to an end. Human rights groups have long criticized organ transplant procedures in China for creating an incentive for prisons to execute prisoners and sell their organs. Another concern has been whether prisoners and their families give informed consent, without inappropriate pressure from prison officials, for the use of organs. Families of executed prisoners sometimes complain that no one gave permission but that they were given back bodies that were sewn up after the removal of organs. An estimated 65% of China’s annual organ donations is currently estimated to come from prisoners. China doesn’t publicly report execution figures, but San Francisco-based human-rights group Dui Hua Foundation estimates that 4,000 prisoners were executed in 2011. Further details on these developments can be found in recent articles published by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and BBC News.