Both the government and the Hong Kong Red Cross have denied claims that organs and blood donated by local residents are being sent outside of the city and shared with the mainland.

The clarifications came after a post on Facebook claiming that “Hong Kong Red Cross has been found sending blood donated by Hong Kong people to China” and that “the Communist PRC government has already included, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan into the China organ transplant network” received thousands of shares, sparking concerns among Hongkongers. The post also urged the public to cancel their organ donation registrations.

red cross
A Red Cross blood donation centre in Hong Kong. Photo: Hong Kong Red Cross via Facebook.

“Hong Kong does not have any formal mechanism to share cadaveric organs with other health authorities outside Hong Kong,” the Food and Health Bureau said on Sunday evening. “The organ donation rules and allocation system on the Mainland are not applicable to Hong Kong.”

The Bureau said that currently, organs donated by local deceased patients are only donated to local patients in need of an organ transplant, and only when there is no suitable recipient in Hong Kong will the Hospital Authority consider donating to patients in other places.

The Bureau also said that this January, the Hospital Authority had approved a plan to pass a donated liver to a Taiwanese patient when there was no local recipient, with the consent of the donor’s family. It said that the decision was “discretionary” and that “the approval was considered and made on an ad hoc and individual case basis, but not according to any established mechanism.”

blood donation
File Photo: Stand News.

Hong Kong Red Cross also said on Sunday that it has never provided blood to any patients outside of Hong Kong, and that all the blood collected is distributed to local hospitals for blood transfusion purposes.

It also that it receives inquiries on the matter from time to time and have already made several clarifications, Ming Pao reported.

The Red Cross said that when local patients required blood of a rare type, it might look outside of Hong Kong. The centre also said that if there were an excess of blood, for humanitarian reasons the centre would consider giving the blood to patients outside of Hong Kong, but over the past years there has never been an excess supply of blood in Hong Kong; rather, there is often a shortage. It urged more Hongkongers, especially young adults, to come forward and donate blood.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.