Having a cross-border scheme for organ donation between mainland China and Hong Kong “is not a bad thing,” the Honorary President of Hong Kong Transplant Sports Association Chau Ka-foon has said after the city received its first donated organ from the mainland last week.

Chau, speaking on Commercial Radio on Monday, said that having such a mechanism would be good news for patients and that there had always been cross-border organ donation mechanisms overseas. Allowing a similar arrangement between Hong Kong and mainland China would not be a bad thing with the proximity of the two places, Chau added.

Hong Kong Children's Hospital
Hong Kong Children’s Hospital. Photo: GovHK.

Chau’s comments came after Lai Tsz-hei, a four-month old baby girl, underwent a successful heart transplant last Friday.

Lai, who also became the city’s youngest heart transplant patient, was the recipient of the donor heart after no other suitable recipients were found in mainland China.

The request for the donor heart was made by Hong Kong’s government, with the Hospital Authority submitting the required certificate for the import of the organ and confirming “that the organ transplant complied with international standards and the requirements of the Human Organ Transplant Ordinance.”

Chau also said that some international medical groups would not accept studies on organ donations from mainland China, and that some foreign countries had raised concerns over China’s previous use of death row inmates for organ donations.

“China has done a lot over the past decade, but other people’s views are based on their understanding of China, not to mention organ donation, in other international political issues, they wouldn’t trust you regardless of what you say,” said Chau.

hospital authority logo (3)
The Hospital Authority logo. Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Tim Pang, a community organiser from Society for Community Organization, said that the four-month old’s case was a good example to start the discussion regarding organ donation between Hong Kong and mainland China.

Pang added that there were over 70 patients waiting for heart transplants in Hong Kong, and that adding the city to China’s organ donation system could increase the chances of patients receiving organs if the healthcare standards were similar legislation in China became clearer.

The community organiser said that while there were still questions over organ donation from mainland China in Hong Kong and overseas, these concerns had to be dispelled by China, and that the legal framework and healthcare system across the border had improved in recent years.

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.