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1`q -  China has one of the world's lowest rates of organ transplants, with 10,000 procedures each year.

The country launched a voluntary donation scheme in 2010 but between that year and 2013 only 1,448 people donated organs -- a drop in the ocean compared with around 300,000 people in need of organ transplants each year.

And just 0.6 people out of every million citizens have signed up to donate their organs when they die.

To plug the shortfall, China has relied overwhelmingly on organs from death row prisoners.

Technically, their organs can only be used under certain conditions, such as if no one collects the body, the inmate gives consent or their family agrees to the medical use of the body.

However, observers both in and outside China have questioned whether prisoners have the free will to give their consent and say it's become an unwritten policy that prisoners' organs can be used to ease the shortage.

Even with the new rules, it's likely that death-row inmates will still supply organs for transplants.

Huang said that prisoners will still be qualified to donate, but their organs will be registered in a computerized donation system instead of being traded privately, according to official English-language newspaper China Daily.

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