The city of Guangzhou in South China's Guangdong province has passed a new law earlier in March that allows individuals to unilaterally decide on whether they would like to donate their body to a hospital or a university after death, without obtaining prior consent from their family. The rule, drafted by the local Red Cross Society, Health and Family Planning Commission, Civil Affairs Department, Public Security Bureau together with the judicial authority, will be valid for 5 years.
According to old rules, a donation can be stopped if any family member objected to it, despite having consent from the diseased.
Donors will also be able to decide who will be responsible to donate their body after death; it can be either a relative or a good friend.
If anyone has passed away without registering to donate their body after death, the relatives can still opt to do so.
Those donated bodies will mainly be used in medical schools by students for learning and research purposes, especially for those majoring in anatomy.
The rule specifies that only medical schools or establishments above the municipal level are qualified to accept the donated bodies.
The Red Cross Society of Guangzhou launched a body donation programme in 2000.
Since then, 1,630 people have applied to become donors as of March 2015. The names of the 394 diseased, whose bodies have been successfully donated, are engraved on a monument built in Guangzhou's Xintang Overseas Chinese Cemetery.
Local authorities have announced that 2 new monuments for honoring those who donate their bodies will be built in two local cemeteries.