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Ministry reviews convict's transplant bid

THE Ministry of Justice is conducting an urgent review over a prisoner's appeal to have a kidney transplanted to save his brother's life.

The Hubei Province Prison Administrative Bureau helped submit the appeal on Monday morning after learning about the story from the media, yesterday's Changjiang Times reported.

Ma Qizheng, from Henan Province, is in the Xiongwangtai Prison in Hubei's Shayang County for theft.

In July 2007, his younger brother Ma Qichang, 32, was diagnosed with uremia, a disease causing kidney failure. Doctors said a kidney transplant would save his life.

A test last October confirmed Ma Qizheng was a perfect match for the transplant. The brothers' parents are too old.

Ma Qizheng has filed several requests to prison officers for approval for the transplant but all have been rejected.

Prison officers cited existing regulations banning organ transplants from prisoners.

"We truly do feel sympathy for him, but we can't do anything illegal," said Zeng Xianbing, a Hubei prison administration official.

Zeng said the bureau will forward the ministry's reply to the brothers as soon as they receive it, though unnamed legal experts cited in the Changjiang Times report hinted there was little chance of it being approved. The donor prisoner would have to receive further medical treatment after the transplant, and it was unclear who would cover the costs, Zeng said.

However, the regulations only discourage transplants rather than forbidding them, argued professor Qiao Xinsheng of the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law.


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