Mainlanders are being urged to donate their bodies to science to help improve the lives of others. The call has come from the nation's first organ donation volunteer group, set up by 75-year-old retired engineer Yu Zouliang, in Shenyang , Liaoning province , at the end of last year. Mr Yu and six helpers, aged 37 to 82, are trying to help people who intend to donate their organs or bodies to get in touch with hospitals and medical schools. Group members intend to donate their corneas and bodies so they can be used in anatomy classes or to help others. The group, which is not being funded, has registered more then 30 donors with five medical schools in Liaoning. Members have distributed brochures, set up a hotline and spoken to the media. 'We want to make people understand that organ donation is a significant act that can assist in medical treatment and teaching, which then has an impact on everyone else,' Mr Yu said yesterday. 'I've seen the side effects of medical accidents caused by inexperienced, young doctors. I really want to do something to help strengthen the medical skills of professionals by contributing my body to science.' Mr Yu, who has been a hospital patient many times, has convinced his three children to become donors. Wu Meichen, a 70-year-old member of the group, has also persuaded seven of her family members to register as donors. Volunteers and their family members must sign a donor's agreement with hospitals and medical schools. The lack of a law to oversee donations makes it harder for volunteers and there are few contact points at hospitals and medical institutes. Chinese culture is another stumbling block in the push for donors, with families usually preferring to cremate or bury bodies as a final show of respect to the dead. 'We are facing a severe shortage of bodies to teach anatomy,' said Duan Kunchang, of the China Medical University's department of human anatomy - a Shenyang medical school that will receive donations from the group. Dr Duan said apart from corneas, which can usually be transplanted, almost all donated organs or corpses were used for learning. He said that in theory a body should be shared by eight students, but 15 to 20 students at his university had to use a single body. However, those at the school are doing their bit for the cause, with 300 signing up as donors.