Medical workers bowed to Feng Junxi, the little girl whose parents donated her organs after her death in Beijing, June 9, 2012. [Photo/Xinhua]
The southern Chinese city of Guangzhou has passed a regulation to allow body donors to bypass family consent requirements in the latest effort to alleviate a severe cadaver shortage in China's medical schools.
The regulation passed by Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, has removed a provision that said consent from all direct relatives must be obtained before a body is donated, Ouyang Binghui, vice head of the Red Cross Society of Guangzhou, told Xinhua.
"The new rule states clearly that a donor can decide about his own body," Ouyang said.
The family consent provision, which has been adopted in a number of Chinese cities, is thought to have led to many failed donations as tradition-minded family members have vetoed the wishes of deceased donors.
The latest regulation also allows institutions, including nursing homes and residents' committees, to donate the bodies of elderly people who have elected donation but have no children or spouse to carry out their wishes after death.
The traditional belief that one's body must remain complete after death has long hampered organ and body donations in China. Many Chinese medical students complain that they have little or no experience working on cadavers in university due to a lack of donated bodies.