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China Honors Voluntary Blood Donors

China on Thursday honored outstanding voluntary blood donors to mark World Blood Donor Day.

"Voluntary blood donations, which embody the spirit of sacrifice, friendship and humanity, have achieved remarkable progress in China," Vice Premier Wu Yi wrote to a teleconference commending the outstanding service of units and individuals.

More than 95 percent of blood collected for clinical use came from voluntary donations at the end of 2006, and all blood used in one third of Chinese cities were from voluntary donors, Wu noted.

"Volunteers are concerned about people's health and safety and social stability and harmony. To promote voluntary donation and ensure blood safety is a long-standing task," Wu wrote.

Health Minister Gao Qiang said risks of blood donating have not been completely rooted out in China and "irregularities still remain".

China's Law of Blood Donation was introduced in 1998. The proportion of blood collected through voluntary donations has been rising since then. The law forbids donors from giving blood more than once every six months.

However, problems still exist in blood safety. Paid blood collection still exists in the country and some local governments set quotas that require people to voluntarily donate.

A total of 3,833 people received blood donation dedication awards on Thursday, and central China's Henan Province, once infamous for unlicensed blood collection that lead to the spread of HIV/AIDS in 1990s, was honored for its recent progress.

The teleconference was jointly held by the Ministry of Health, Red Cross Society of China and People's Liberation Army's General Logistics Department.

(Xinhua News Agency June 15, 2007)

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