China is to start phasing out its reliance on organs from executed prisoners for transplants early next year as a new national system of donations is implemented.
Wang Haibo said in an interview in the November edition of the World Health Organisation's journal Bulletin that Chinese officials acknowledge that a transplantation system that mostly uses organs from death row prisoners is neither ethical nor sustainable.
Wang is a Health Ministry official who is leading the country's efforts to design a nationwide organ donation system.
Organ transplantation in China has long been criticised as opaque, profit-driven and unethical.
Critics argue that death row inmates may feel pressured to become donors, violating personal, religious or cultural beliefs.