China is set to see the most organ transplantations in the world in 2020, an expert said Thursday.
A total of 2,866 organ donations took place in China from January to July in 2017, a 33 percent increase on a yearly basis, according to Huang Jiefu, chairman of the China National Organ Donation and Transplantation Committee (COTDF).
Only 34 Chinese citizens chose to donate their organs after death in 2010, when China launched an organ donation system, but the number rocketed to 4,080 in 2016, according to Huang.
More than 220,000 Chinese people have expressed a wish to donate organs after death, according to a COTDF donor registry developed in December 2016
Huang gave the numbers two days ahead of a conference on organ donation and transplantation in southwest China's city of Kunming to be attended by over 1,000 practitioners from 173 hospitals across the country qualified for organ transplant surgery.
China has made significant progress in the legal framework for organ transplantation in recent years, with more than 30 official documents and regulations released by the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) and the Red Cross Society of China.
Law enforcement has also been strengthened on organ trafficking to protect both donors and recipients. From 2007 to 2016, authorities including the NHFPC and the Ministry of Public Security formed joint task forces to fight organ trafficking, arresting 174 criminal suspects.
China banned transplants of organs donated from executed prisoners in January 2015. Since then only voluntary donations have been a source of organs for transplants.