The president of the Hong Kong Transplant Sports Association, Chau Ka-foon, said on Thursday that the SAR's organ donation rate is far lower than other parts of the world, and urged the government to do more to encourage people to support the cause.
"Last year we only had 29 donors, the organ donor rate was 3.9 donors per million of population," Chau told RTHK, adding that the figure is a stark contrast to Spain or the United States, which have organ donor rates of around 40 donors per million.
Chau's comment follows recent reports that many people have withdrawn their names from the government's organ donation register.
She said the local donor registry only has about 350,000 names – accounting for about five percent of the SAR's population.
She pointed out that local traditions, including the belief in the need to keep the body intact after death, were a factor in about one-third of refusals to donate.
"Inadequate communication between family members was also behind the SAR's low donor rate…discussion of death is still very uncommon among family members in Hong Kong because of the Chinese culture," Chau added.
She urged the government to do more to educate the public on the matter.
"We need more innovative ideas and need to [use] social media to capture the changing world," Chau said, noting also that more understanding of people's behaviour is needed to address the problem.