The government on Monday accused some people of “vilifying” its organ donation system and a plan to facilitate cross-border organ matching, after its organ donation register saw a substantial surge in withdrawals.
In a statement, the government said almost 5,800 withdrawal applications were recorded in the Centralised Organ Donation Register (CODR) over a five-month period from last December – significantly higher than past figures.
It condemned what it said was “utterly irresponsible behaviour”, saying more than half of them were invalid applications, including repeated attempts of withdrawals or requests from people who were never on the register in the first place.
It said a small number of people had intentionally made withdrawal attempts "to disrupt the representativeness" of the CODR and increase the administrative burden on government personnel.
“The government noticed that a small number of individuals distorted the virtue and altruistic value of devotion in organ donation on the internet recently by promoting the idea that organ donors should scrutinise the identity of the recipients and even urging others to withdraw from the CODR,” the statement wrote.
The government recently announced a plan to set up a standing organ transplant mutual assistance mechanism with the mainland, which can be activated if matching is unsuccessful in the local allocation system.
Officials said while the arrangement will allow donated organs in Hong Kong and the mainland to be better utilised, some people had made irresponsible remarks about it.
“Some individuals also wantonly vilify the constructive significance of the proposed establishment of a standing mutual assistance mechanism for transplant by the two places, undoubtedly despising the inseparable ties between citizens of Hong Kong and the Mainland as well as various selfless acts of assistance in the past including cases of organ donations from the mainland in saving the lives of Hong Kong patients,” the statement said.
The CODR currently has more than 357,000 registrations, and authorities said they will step up efforts to further promote organ donation.