Chinese doctors have been jailed for illegally harvesting organs.

Local media reported they are among six people caged for harvesting the organs from accident victims after tricking the families of the deceased into thinking they were making official organ donations.

Between 2017 and 2018 they removed the livers and kidneys from 11 people at a hospital in Anhui province, in the east of the vast country.

China is fighting a huge shortage of organs and has struggled to meet demand through public donations.

According to local reports the trafficking ring included four high-ranking doctors, some of whom worked in organ procurement in hospitals.

The trafficking ring would trick grieving relatives into signing bogus organ donation forms

They reportedly targeted car crash victims or patients who suffered from a brain haemorrhage at the Huaiyuan County People's Hospital in Anhui.

The site's head of the intensive care unit, Yang Suxun, would approach a patient's family members and ask if they would consent to donating their loved one's organs.

Family members would then sign what would later turn out to be forged consent forms.

The ring was uncovered when the son of one of the victims grew suspicious (file picture)

The victims would be wheeled out of the hospital in the middle of the night and put into a van made to look like an ambulance.

Doctors would remove the organs which would then be sold to individuals or other hospitals contacted in secret by the trafficking ring.

They were eventually discovered when the son of one of the victims grew suspicious.

Shi Xianglin found several discrepancies in the documents signed after his mum's death in 2018. He then discovered there were no records of the donation held either with provincial authorities or the China Organ Donation Administration Centre in Beijing.

When Shi confronted those involved he was offered a lot of money to keep quiet.

He said: "That's when I was sure that something very strange was going on."

The six men in the ring were sentenced for the crime of "deliberately destroying corpses, receiving jail terms of between 10 and 28 months.

For years China harvested the organs of executed prisoners to help meet demand, something that was widely criticised globally.

It was officially stopped in 2015 but authorities at the time said it would be tough to ensure compliance.

The country now relies on public donations to its national organ bank. Donor rates in China have increased in recent years but are still much lower than in other parts of the world.