Chinese Doctors Join The World Medical Association

The Chinese Medical Association, representing almost 400,000 doctors, is to rejoin the World Medical Association.

At its annual General Assembly in Hamburg, Germany, the WMA decided to readmit China. A move by the German Medical Association to defer the decision until the Chinese had made it clear whether their members took part in the transplantation of organs from executed prisoners was overwhelmingly defeated. The meeting believed that the WMA served the cause of medical ethics better with the Chinese Medical Association as a member rather than outside the organisation.

The Chinese Medical Association was previously admitted to the WMA in 1989, but their membership lapsed two years later when they failed to pay their subscription.

Dr Anders Milton, chairman of the WMA Council said: "I am delighted to receive back into the WMA a medical association from a country that has about one fifth of all the world's doctors.

"It is important that the Chinese Medical Association is once again a member of the WMA so that we can discuss with them the allegations that doctors in China take part in the transplantation of organs from executed prisoners, which we deplore. The WMA must increase its influence in tackling human rights and medical abuses wherever they occur."

Other new members of the WMA are the Medical Federation of Ecuador and the Malaysian Medical Association.

Applications for membership were received from two Russian organizations - the Russian Medical Association and the Physicians of Russia. It was agreed to allow both organisations to send observers to WMA meetings, while encouraging them to establish an umbrella body to represent the interests of Russian doctors internationally.

An application from the Medical Association of Dominica has been received and will be considered next year.