BEIJING, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- A total of 165 hospitals across China have been allowed to conduct human organ transplants, Xinhua learned on Thursday from the country's top health commission.
These hospitals span the country's 31 provincial-level regions, with 20 from Beijing taking up the biggest share, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission.
Pilot hospitals allowed to transplant organs donated after cardiac death are not included, the commission added.
China now has the world's second-largest demand for organ transplants. About 300,000 patients suffer organ failure each year, but only around 10,000 transplants are performed annually due to a lack of donors.
China introduced an organ donation system in 2010, with the non-governmental Red Cross Society serving as an independent third party in supervising and facilitating donation procedures.
At present, human organs are mainly procured via three channels in China: donations from executed prisoners, patients' relatives and regular citizens.
The State Council, or China's cabinet, issued regulations on voluntary organ donation in 2007. But China has struggled to popularize the practice, as traditional Chinese customs call for people to be buried or cremated with their organs intact.
A new system for the management and distribution of donated human organs will soon go into operation nationwide, according to the commission.
It will be used in line with organ distribution policies and will automatically match organs and recipients in accordance with their degree of medical need, as well as the donor and recipient's compatibility,
The commission will also introduce rules concerning the gathering, distribution and management of organs in order to make these processes more transparent. The rules will also make use of the system compulsory.