Marlowe's Shade

Monday, August 21, 2006

Catching up from the Summer

Due to an unusually pleasant New England summer, I've gotten behind on quite a few important stories...

China will soon have a major demographic problem on its hands. Partly do to a population bulge among older Chinese and exascerbated by its gender imbalance there soon will be more elderly that the smaller generation of producers will be able to support comfortably. The Chinese government has already signaled its interest in euthanasia as a solution. Now a Catholic news service is reporting that Hong Kong has been targeted as a testing ground for a new euthanasia policy:

The Law Reform Commission wants to suggest to terminally ill people that they sign a declaration about their willingness to die. Patients’ NGOs have hit out at the recommendation, saying it is merely an “immoral” form of euthanasia.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews/SCMP) – It is “morally wrong” to suggest to patients to state in writing that they may allowed to die if they become comatose or are in terminal stages of their illness, said patients’ groups in Hong Kong.

The Law Reform Commission of Hong Kong yesterday “indicated” that someone who is seriously ill may draw up a written directive to be allowed to die if he cannot live without artificial aid and can no longer take decisions. But NGOs for the safeguarding of patients’ rights said this was a hidden form of euthanasia. The “sweet death” is forbidden by law in Hong Kong and even if a sick person asks for it, the family can oppose it and prosecute doctors who apply the patient’s wishes. Doctors are also unhappy about the situation, because they would have preferred clear and unequivocal directions about their duties.

Cheung Tak-hai, chairman of the Alliance of Patients' Organisation which represents 37 groups, said this regulation “is no different from euthanasia” and could weaken patients’ “will to live”.

"Recovery from many illnesses, such as cancer, depends on the patient's own spirit. If they sign this, they will give up,” he said. “Coma patients have a chance of waking up and should be given continuous treatment. If they allow doctors to take them off life-sustaining devices and cause death, there will be a lot of legal disputes between hospitals and families."

There were concerns, he continued, that this move may have been willed by the hospital authorities as a cost-cutting measure to remove long-stay or comatose patients.

The sister of Tsang Kwan-fan, a patient in a coma at the Caritas Hospital, agreed. She said: “It is very clear that they do not want to waste resources on treating patients in comas or vegetative states. The new device leads patients to choose death. It is morally wrong. It treats life as worthless.”

Despite the fact that this crisis was precipitated by China's ill conceived "One Child" policy, China continues to harshly silence its critics, as we see in its ongoing attacks on reformer Chen Guangcheng:

The trial of Chen Guangcheng, the activist attorney who brought international attention to a brutal family planning campaign that involved the forced abortions or sterilizations of 10,000 women, ended in chaos Friday. Chen's attorneys were arrested and he was appointed two state lawyers who knew nothing of his case.
Local officials in Linyi, who previously arrested Chen on trumped up charges, arrested three of his defense attorneys and held two of them until after the trial concluded.

Xu Zhiyong, a lawyer and law professor from Beijing, was detained for 22 hours and false charges of theft to prevent him from attending the trial.
"It's obvious the authorities did not want us to defend Chen Guangcheng," Xu, a member of a district people's congress in Beijing, told Reuters.

Li Fangping, another attorney who was falsely arrested and prevented from helping Chen, said the activist was appointed to state lawyers who knew nothing of his case. He said the repeated denial of rights caused Chen to be physically ill.

Meanwhile, the UN which was a major enabler to China's depopulation program, is facing resistance to its latest binding treaty to establish abortion as a "reproductive right":

New York, NY ( -- The battle to keep abortion out of a United Nations treaty on the disabled continues as ambassadors from Nicaragua led a coalition of pro-life nations objecting to ambiguous language that could be interpreted as providing for an international right to abortion. The battle is the latest over the phrase "reproductive rights."

UN delegates began gathering on Monday in New York to begin work to finalize the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

As previously reported, Susan Yoshihara of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, said that pro-life advocates were particularly concerned about the language in the treaty because it will be considered “hard” international law.

On Friday, C-FAM reported in its Friday Fax newsletter that Nicaragua led a group of 23 nations in objecting to including “sexual and reproductive health services” in the document saying it was vague and undefined and could be used to promote abortion in pro-life nations.

C-FAM indicated that a diverse group of nations agreed with the Central American nation, including the United States, Honduras, Egypt, Costa Rica, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Tunisia, Qatar, Kenya, and the Philippines.

Surprisingly, according to its Friday Fax report, Norway, which backs abortion, joined in objecting to the phrase as well.

The "reproductive rights" phrase has only been defined as abortion once by the United Nations, in a non-binding document produced at the Cairo population conference in 1995. But pro-abortion non-governmental organizations and some UN committees have interpreted it as promoting abortion.

Yoshihara wrote last week that "most documents negotiated at the UN are non-binding. Treaties, such as this one, require governments to change their domestic laws based on the treaty."

Despite the number of nations opposing inclusion of the phrase, C-FAM's Friday Fax reported that the committee chair, Ambassador Donald McKay of New Zealand, insisted that negotiations continue.

Normally when a large group of nations object, controversial phrases are removed and eventually the Egyptian delegate commented that McKay being partial by not removing the language from the document.

While a large contingent of nations opposed the vague language, the European Union, Canada, Peru, Cuba, and Brazil backing including "reproductive rights." C-FAM's Friday Fax also said that McKay was taking the unusual move of allowing NGOs to participate in the discussions of the language. Normally they are allowed to lobby delegates but not participate in negotiations.

C-FAM expects the negotiations to continue into next week and doesn't expect a final decision until very late on the final day. The meeting lasts until August 25.

Should abortion make its way into the treaty that's bad news for pro-life nations that prohibit abortions and the majority of the world that has laws protecting the disabled and the elderly from losing lifesaving medical treatment.

Despite being exposed as a fraud, cloning con artist Hwang Woo-Suk is back in business:

Hwang Woo-Suk, the scientist who started an international scandal when his research team fabricated all of its embryonic stem cell research, is back in the cloning business. Hwang has opened a new lab with some of his colleagues where he will attempt to clone pigs.
As reported yesterday, Hwang has resumed his work on animal cloning, which was the only success his research team had.

On Friday, the Ministry of Science and Technology said it gave Hwang approval to set up the laboratory, which will be called the Suam Biotechnology Institute Foundation.

Given the inherently dangerous nature of any genetic research, the decision of the South Korean government is an appalling one. The fact that a scientist with such a complete lack of integrity is still being allowed to tinker with the building blocks of Life is a cause for great concern. And based on denny's fascinating post from last week, the issue is worse that we think...
papijoe 9:42 AM