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• China Cracks Down on Illegal Organ Black Market
• Senators Shelve Anti-China Bill
• China Imposes Tax on Chopsticks

China Cracks Down on Illegal Organ Black Market

3-30: China has cracked down on transplant organ sales in a move to reform the transplant industry. The action comes following the deaths of eight Japanese patients who had traveled to the PRC to receive transplants.

With nearly two million Chinese needing an organ transplant and with only around 20,000 organs available, a black market has emerged for organ transplants. Many human rights groups allege that many of the organs on the black market come from recently executed prisoners without their consent. Although the Chinese strongly deny these claims, they are cracking down on the black market in a move aimed at improving patientís safety. Under new regulations, hospitals will lose their license if patients do not live past a certain number of years after their transplant. Additionally, the source of the organ must be discussed with the patient before the procedure can proceed.

Senators Shelve Anti-China Bill

3-30: After a weeklong trip to China, Senators Schumer and Graham, two of Beijing's most vocal critics in the Senate agreed Tuesday to delay a vote on legislation that would slap punitive tariffs on Chinese goods.

The bill would put a 27.5% tariff on Chinese goods unless the Chinese government allowed the yuan to float more freely in relation to the dollar.

After discussion with Chinese officials as well as US Treasury Secretary Snow, the Senators agreed to put off the measure, but they did not permanently kill the bill. Schumer and Graham stated that if they were unsatisfied with Chinaís actions to loosen the yuans peg to the dollar, they would reintroduce the bill for a vote in September of this year.

With the decision to postpone a vote or even cancel a vote on the bill, trade tensions between China and the US have relaxed considerably.

China Imposes Tax on Chopsticks

3-26: Last week, China decided to impose a five-percent tax on disposable wooden chopsticks, in a move to conserve timber resources.

Although officials admit the tax on each pair of chopsticks is very small, it is the goal behind the policy that is most important.

The production of disposable chopsticks consumes 1.3 million cubic meters of timber or 2 million cubicmeters of forests each year, the Ministry of Finance said.

China sells 10 million boxes of wooden chopsticks domestically and exports about 6 million boxes each year, which amounts to 15 billion pairs of chopsticks, according to the ministry.

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