BEIJING, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Foreigners visiting China on tourist visas will not be able to receive organ transplants while in the Asian country, the Ministry of Health says.
A spokesman for the Chinese ministry said Tuesday that the ban on all organ transplants for foreign visitors is in accordance with international practice, China's official state-run Xinhua news agency said.
MOH spokesman Mao Qunan said Tuesday at a press conference that Chinese residents should be the focus of transplant operations in China.
The ministry has also vowed to severely punish any medical institutions in China found to take part in illegal organ transplant operations.
More than 160 medical institutions have been given permission by the ministry to conduct such transplants since the Provisions on Human Organ Transplant was issued on May 1, 2007.
Xinhua said, according to the ministry, Chinese hospitals can offer foreign visitors transplants if they receive permission from provincial health departments, which will consult with the ministry before making a decision.