In our news from China this week, we pick three very different stories. The first is about how Chinese Medicine is being used increasingly outside China, especially with COVID-19. The second is about the 40th anniversary of Shenzhen. The third discusses the age at which young offenders should take criminal responsibility.
Chinese medicine is being integrated into the international medical system
When President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech at the National Commendation Conference for Fighting the COVID Epidemic, he reaffirmed the contribution of Chinese medicine in the fight against the epidemic. Various methods of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and integrated traditional Chinese and Western medicine for the treatment of epidemic have attracted wide attention overseas. As needed, China actively shares the experience with the international community, and has made important contributions to improving the health and well-being of people in many countries.
Since the outbreak of COVID, China has exchanged TCM diagnosis and treatment plans and clinical experience with more than 80 countries and regions including Italy, Germany, and Japan. China has sent physicians to nearly 30 countries and regions to help local epidemic prevention and control. According to Wang Wei, the vice president of Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, is available in Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Japan, Malaysia and other countries.
The World Federation of Acupuncture, the Chinese Society of Acupuncture and the Chinese Society of Chinese Medicine jointly organized a series of Chinese-English bilingual international anti-epidemic lectures. Doctors from more than 60 countries watched it online. Thee lectures received more than one million views.
Traditional Chinese medicine has enriched joint anti-epidemic work and promoted deeper and more effective cooperation between China and other countries.
Ikram, executive director of the Pakistan Health Commission, believes that Chinese experts who have provided Chinese medicine to the international community, have played an important role in maintaining human health.
In recent years, Hungary has actively promoted Chinese medicine. It has built the first Chinese medicine factory that meets EU standards, became the first European country to implement Chinese medicine legislation, established the first Confucius Institute with Chinese medicine characteristics in Europe, and established the first Chinese medicine in Central and Eastern Europe.
The prevention-oriented Chinese medicine culture embodies the wisdom of oriental health preservation, enriches Hungarian national health work, and provides inspiration and reference for our health planning.
State Secretary Letvary Benz, in charge of national health and medicine in Hungary, said that this year the Hungarian government invested about 130 million yuan to strengthen traditional Chinese medicine research.
In Zimbabwe, the first Chinese medicine and acupuncture centre was officially inaugurated and operated recently at the largest public hospital in the region. The centre will be jointly managed and operated by China and Zimbabwe. It will set up TCM clinics, acupuncture treatment rooms, massage physiotherapy rooms, special technical training rooms and other departments. At the same time, it will provide Chinese medicine theory and practice training for medical staff in Zimbabwe public hospitals.
In South Africa, acupuncture services are covered by South African medical insurance. Many local people can pronounce the names of Chinese medicines in Chinese, such as Wuji Baifeng Pills, Liuwei Dihuang Pills, Wuzi Yanzong Pills, and many others.
In Kazakhstan, Suleymanov Samat, who graduated from Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, opened a Chinese acupuncture clinic in Almaty and received many patients. Samat said:
Kazakh people’s acceptance of Chinese medicine continues to increase, and I have full confidence in the overseas promotion of Chinese medicine.
In Brazil, the China-Brazil forum shared the methods of combining Chinese and Western medicine to treat the virus through remote training and provided treatment plans and drug recommendations based on local conditions. According to Paul Varanda, coordinator of the Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Committee, some Chinese medicines have been sold in Brazilian pharmacies, and some pharmacies have the ability to prescribe Chinese medicine. The committee will further strengthen the training of Chinese medicine so that more Brazilians can experience Chinese medicine treatment.
As of December 2019, there are 15 Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms in Chinese Medicine, and more than 240 Confucius Institutes in 78 countries have opened courses in Chinese medicine and Tai Chi, with 35,000 registered students. People, 185,000 people participated in related experience activities.
The China Uzbekistan Traditional Medicine Centre started its trial operation in Tashkent in June this year.
It will become a bridge for mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries in the field of traditional medicine.Sardor Kariyev, director of the Pharmaceutical Development Agency of the Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan
At present, China has cooperated with countries and regions along the “Belt and Road” to build 30 overseas centres of traditional Chinese medicine.
Professor Higgins, Dean of the Brazilian College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, obtained a PhD in Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. He believes that combining Western medicine with traditional Chinese medicine is a valuable experience to achieve major strategic results.
The international community not only needs to understand the principles of Chinese medicine, but also how to advance and innovate Chinese medicine in order to better apply it in clinical practice.
Ricardo Bébara, president of the Rio Federal Agricultural University in Brazil, said that traditional Chinese medicine is in wide demand in Brazil and there is broad room for cooperation between Brazil and China in traditional medicine.
We hope to grow Chinese herbal medicines in Brazil and develop technical cooperation with Chinese universities so that Chinese medicine can flourish in Brazil.
At present, China has signed special TCM cooperation agreements with governments, regional authorities and international organizations in more than 40 countries. The Chinese Medicine Technical Committee established in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) promoted by China has issued dozens of international standards for Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine is rapidly integrating into the international medical system, making more and more contributions to human health and well-being.
The 40th celebration of the establishment of Shenzhen, Hong Kong’s immediate neighbour took place recently. In 40 years, Shenzhen has gone from a fishing village to an economy that is larger than Hong Kong’s.
At a time when Sino-US relations are strained and COVID-19 dampens the global economy, President Xi Jinping once again came to Shenzhen, the forefront of China’s “reform and opening up”, to participate in the official celebration of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the special zone and deliver a speech.
Xi said that, in addition to releasing China’s continued reform and opening up, the central government will give Shenzhen more experimentation space. It will give Shenzhen an updated positioning.
Shenzhen needs to build a pioneering demonstration zone of socialism with Chinese characteristics, form a new pattern of comprehensively deepening reforms and comprehensively expand opening up to promote the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
It is worth noting that Xi’s speech not only positions Shenzhen as a demonstration zone for socialism with Chinese characteristics, it also promotes the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
In the early days of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone 40 years ago, many aspects imitated Hong Kong. Today the development of Shenzhen has become an engine for Hong Kong’s development. In 1978, Shenzhen was still a poor fishing village in mainland China. Its economic size could not be compared with Hong Kong at all, but it surpassed Hong Kong in 1978 40 years later.
Make full use of the major cooperation platforms of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao to attract more Hong Kong and Macao youths to study, work and live in the Mainland, promote extensive exchanges, comprehensive exchanges and in-depth integration of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao youths, and strengthen the motherland.
Xi Jinping said:
At present, reforms have reached a new level. Many of them are unprecedented. The complexity, sensitivity, and difficulty of advancing reforms is no less than 40 years ago. We must use greater political courage and wisdom to persist in the combination of ‘crossing the river by feeling the stones’ and strengthening the top-level design.
It can be inferred that whether it is the re-start of Shenzhen’s reform and opening up or the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee to be held in October, it will involve the development of Hong Kong. The follow-up policy release of the high-level CCP is worthy of imagination and expectation.
Our final story this week is about a highly controversial topic in many countries – at what age should young offenders become ‘criminals’? And what is the balance between punishment and re-education for young offenders committing serious crimes?
Lowering the age of criminal responsibility and the return of the standard of accountability for minors from “`age” to “the case itself”, is more in line with society’s expectations of fairness and justice.
On October 13, the second draft of the Criminal Law Amendment was submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress for deliberation. In it, the provisions on “conditional reduction of the age of criminal responsibility” aroused strong concern. The draft stipulates that a person who has reached the age of 12 but not the age of 14 who commits the crime of intentional homicide or intentional injury, resulting in death, shall be subject to criminal responsibility upon approval of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate.
As for the intention behind the revision of the law, Zang Tiewei, spokesperson of the Standing Committee, said that crimes against young minors cannot be simply closed or set aside. In this regard, the second-review draft intends to cover two aspects. On the one hand, under certain circumstances, the legal minimum age of criminal responsibility will be individually lowered; on the other hand, the revision of the criminal law and the law on the prevention of juvenile crime will be considered.
In recent years lowering the age of criminal responsibility has become a hot topic of public discussion. At the very beginning of its establishment, the juvenile justice system focused on the salvation of problematic minors. From the perspective of historical inheritance and realistic stability, the criminal policy of ‘education first, punishment second’ for minors still has its practical necessity. However, opening up to some juvenile criminals does not necessarily achieve the original intention, and sometimes it may even backfire.
The decriminalization of certain young juvenile offenders (especially those who commit serious crimes) because they have not reached the legal age of criminal responsibility may lead to a backlash in public sentiment and thus question the juvenile justice system.
Judging from the original intention of saving minors and the relevant legal provisions, the judicial organ’s handling has a legitimate basis for consideration. Simply lowering the age of criminal responsibility cannot solve the problem of juvenile delinquency once and for all, especially the problem of serious crimes committed by minors who have reached the age of 12 but under the age of 14.
The United Nations General Assembly adopted the “Standard Minimum Rules for Juvenile Justice” in November 1985, introducing the principles of “due process” and “welfare guarantee”. Among them, it stipulates the basic goal of juvenile justice construction in various countries: “The juvenile justice system should emphasize the happiness of the juvenile and should ensure that any response to the juvenile offender should be commensurate with the criminal and illegal behaviour.”
The legislative spirit reflected in the current review draft is consistent with this. That is, the handling of serious crimes committed by minors must not only protect the rights and interests of minors, but also reflect criminal responsibility. In other words, more attention should be paid to the balance between “saving minors” and “society’s expectations of justice.”
In the final analysis, age is only one aspect of evaluating the accountability of criminal acts. Too much emphasis on protection or blindly heavy punishment is unreasonable. For every case and every minor, to make a due process and a fair and just judgement is the true protection of the minor group and the public interest.