Beijing: In a crackdown on human organ trafficking, Chinese police have arrested 137 people in connection with the illicit trade.
The operation was jointly conducted by 18 provincial police authorities in late July, who also rescued 127 organ suppliers, according to a statement from the Ministry of Public Security today.
Police said that the detained suspects illegally recruited suppliers over the Internet, facilitated the deals and made huge profits from the transactions, which had endangered the health of the suppliers and placed a heavy financial burden on the recipients.
Statistics from the Ministry of Health show that about 1.5 million Chinese need organ transplants, but only around 10,000 transplants are performed annually due to a lack of donors, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The huge gap has led to a thriving illegal market for human organs, though the government has repeatedly pledged to improve its regulations on organ transplants and increase organ supply.
To increase the supply of legally harvested organs, Chinese health authorities are building an official network to facilitate organ donations.