Organ Donation by Capital Prisoners in China: Reflections in Confucian Ethics
The Journal of medicine and philosophy 2010 Apr ; 35(2): 197-212
This article discusses the practice and development of organ donation by capital prisoners in China. It analyzes the issue of informed consent regarding organ donation from capital prisoners in light of Confucian ethics and expounds the point that under the influence of Confucianism, China is a country that attaches great importance to the role of the family in practicing informed consent in various areas, the area of organ donation from capital prisoners included. It argues that a proper form of organ donation from capital prisoners can be justified within the Confucian moral context in which the proper interests of capital prisoners and their families, the benefit of organ receptors, and a rightful order of society should all be appropriately considered. From the Confucian perspective, the act of donating organs from a capital prisoner must be decided by both the prisoner and his/her family (i.e., each side should hold a veto power), whereas such donation, in the proper circumstance protected by a rightful procedure, should be appreciated as a morally praiseworthy act of the prisoner who is willing to make the final effort to repent and correct his/her evil conduct and to leave something good to the world.
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