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Showing posts for "Yanzhong Huang"

Ten Years after SARS: Five Myths to Unravel

by Yanzhong Huang
Observers look out of windows as "patients" walk past during a SARS outbreak drill in Hong Kong November 19, 2004. (Bobby Yip/Courtesy Reuters) Observers look out of windows as "patients" walk past during a SARS outbreak drill in Hong Kong November 19, 2004. (Bobby Yip/Courtesy Reuters)

Last week, I was in Beijing for an international conference while the city experienced record levels of air pollution. I had a feeling of déjà vu as I saw people wearing face masks. Ten years ago, at the height of the SARS epidemic, a sea of people in white masks—most of them scared migrant workers and university students—flocked to train and bus stations and airports in the hope of fleeing the city. Then, face masks were a symbol of the fear of a deadly and seemingly omnipresent virus that was responsible for 349 deaths and over 5,300 infections in China alone. As the first severe infectious disease to emerge in the twenty-first century, SARS caused the most serious socio-political crisis for the Chinese leadership since the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown. Read more »

Presidential Inbox: Integrating Global Health Into the Pivot Strategy

by Yanzhong Huang
U.S. President Obama is followed by his staff as he leaves the Plenary session of the 21st ASEAN and East Asia summit in Phnom Penh (Damir Sagolj/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. President Obama is followed by his staff as he leaves the Plenary session of the 21st ASEAN and East Asia summit in Phnom Penh (Damir Sagolj/Courtesy Reuters).

Mr. President, as you begin your second term, you and your Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping both face the challenge of building a mature and mutually beneficial bilateral relationship.  There is no need to belabor the strategic importance of the Sino-American relations for the United States.  Indeed, one may argue that it is precisely the strategic dynamics driven by China’s rise that led to your critical decision to pivot to Asia. Read more »

Why Is It in China’s Interest to Promote Health Security in Southeast Asia?

by Yanzhong Huang
Dead ducks are hung at a farm in the outskirts of Phnom Penh December 17, 2008. Cambodia began culling poultry near its capital on Wednesday, officials said, five days after a young man from the area was confirmed with H5N1 bird flu by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the government (Chor Sokunthea/Courtesy Reuters). Dead ducks are hung at a farm in the outskirts of Phnom Penh December 17, 2008. Cambodia began culling poultry near its capital on Wednesday, officials said, five days after a young man from the area was confirmed with H5N1 bird flu by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the government (Chor Sokunthea/Courtesy Reuters).

If there is a buzzword one needs to know to understand U.S. foreign policy toward Asia in 2013, it is “rebalancing,” or in the words of President Obama “pivoting.” Rebalancing is of course not solely about military redeployment. Indeed, a critical element of the U.S. rebalancing strategy in the region is to nurture partnerships with countries and international institutions to address common threats in areas such as regional health security. Read more »

Leadership Transition in China: A New Beginning or the Beginning of the End?

by Yanzhong Huang
In this handout photo released by TaKungPao.com on December 10, 2012, China's Vice President Xi Jinping (L) plants a tree on Lianhua hill in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, December 8, 2012 (TaKungPao.com/Courtesy Reuters). In this handout photo released by TaKungPao.com on December 10, 2012, China's Vice President Xi Jinping (L) plants a tree on Lianhua hill in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, December 8, 2012 (TaKungPao.com/Courtesy Reuters).

After the presentation of the fifth generation of communist party leaders in China, my colleague Liz Economy noted that the 18th Party Congress was a victory for the Party’s conservative clique in terms of personnel and policy. Liz was certainly not the only leading China hand who thought that the Party Congress was a heartbreaker. A former US government official recently even said to me that the late Hu Jintao era (which officially ends in March 2013) could be “the beginning of the end.” Many Chinese scholars were equally disappointed.  At a roundtable discussion held on November 16, Zi Zhongyun said that she felt “upset and hopeless” with the results of the Party Congress.  Another leading Chinese public intellectual even suggested that the Party might not be able to make it to the 20th Congress. Read more »

The 18th Party Congress: A Setback for President Hu?

by Yanzhong Huang
China's President Hu Jintao claps as he arrives for the opening ceremony of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing March 3, 2011. (Jason Lee/Courtesy Reuters). China's President Hu Jintao claps as he arrives for the opening ceremony of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing March 3, 2011. (Jason Lee/Courtesy Reuters).

Two days after the U.S. presidential election, 2270 delegates will gather in Beijing for the Chinese Communist Party’s 18th Congress. The meeting will not only select a new generation of leaders but will also endorse the Party’s new political agenda. After being hit by a slew of scandals, the Communist Party is doing all it can to make sure all “unstable elements” are nipped in the bud. Security is tight not just in Beijing but also in other parts of China.  I heard stories of the police stopping cars in a southern province to search for knives. When one of the drivers dared to ask why, he was simply told “shiba da” (18th Party Congress). Read more »

Why Haven’t Chinese Leaders Acted Decisively to Reduce Tobacco Use?

by Yanzhong Huang
A visitor dressed as a Red Army soldier smokes as he poses for a picture in Jinggangshan, Jiangxi province on September 20, 2012. (Carlos Barria / Courtesy Reuters) A visitor dressed as a Red Army soldier smokes as he poses for a picture in Jinggangshan, Jiangxi province on September 20, 2012. (Carlos Barria / Courtesy Reuters)

In mid-October, Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev voiced support for a proposed ban on smoking in public places by 2015. “The government is not at war with smokers,” he said, “but we are making a stand against smoking.”

Compared to Russia, where about a third of the population smokes, China has “the biggest tobacco problem in the world.” As Cheng Li pointed out in a recent publication, China is “the world’s biggest tobacco producer, largest cigarette consumer, and gravest victim of the smoking-related health crisis.” Read more »

The Compulsory Licensing of Pharmaceuticals: Will China Follow in India’s Footsteps?

by Yanzhong Huang
An official poses with packets of Sorafenib Tosylate tablets inside the head office of Natco in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad March 13, 2012. (Krishnendu Halder/Courtesy Reuters) An official poses with packets of Sorafenib Tosylate tablets inside the head office of Natco in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad March 13, 2012. (Krishnendu Halder/Courtesy Reuters)

Compulsory licensing is emerging as an additional mechanism by which developing countries can make the treatment of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) more affordable to their populace. Under the World Trade Organization’s Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Rights (TRIPS) Agreement, compulsory licensing, which occurs when a government licenses the use of a patented innovation without the consent of the patent title holder, is a legally recognized means to overcome barriers in accessing affordable medicines. Read more »

China’s Food Safety Crisis: How Serious Is the Problem?

by Yanzhong Huang
An employee works at the production line of an edible oil company in Sanhe, Hebei April 12, 2011. An employee works at the production line of an edible oil company in Sanhe, Hebei April 12, 2011 (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters).

Last month in the 2012 FIVB World Grand Prix Finals, China’s women’s volleyball team fell to countries that did not even qualify for the 2008 Olympics, where China won Bronze. The coach blamed his team’s abysmal performance on their veggie diet, saying that the athletes had not had any meat for three weeks.  The players were certainly not vegetarians: they abstained from meat lest contamination of chemicals such as clenbuterol interfere with their urine tests. The excuse was not as lousy as it initially sounded: early this year, China’s State General Administration of Sports issued a document forbidding its athletes from consuming meat outside of official training facilities. Read more »

Gu Kailai Trial: Drama Ended?

by Yanzhong Huang
Gu Kailai, wife of ousted Chinese Communist Party Politburo member Bo Xilai, attends a trial in the court room at Hefei Intermediate People's Court in this still image taken from video Gu Kailai, wife of ousted Chinese Communist Party Politburo member Bo Xilai, attends a trial in the court room at Hefei Intermediate People's Court in this still image taken from video on August 20, 2012. (Courtesy Reuters)

The murder trial of Bo Xilai’s wife Gu Kailai ended with a local Chinese court delivering a suspended death sentence for her killing of a British citizen Neil Heywood. While Gu only received a two-year reprieve for the execution, anybody with some knowledge of the operation of the Chinese officialdom knows that this is tantamount to life in prison. Provided “good behavior” during her imprisonment, Gu could be released after serving fewer than a dozen years. Gu was apparently satisfied with the verdict. It is ironic, of course, that she demonstrated no respect for the law by taking another person’s life, but is now praising the court for showing “immense respect for the law, reality and life.” Read more »

China’s Population Policy—An Exchange Between Edwin Winckler and Yanzhong Huang

by Yanzhong Huang
A young Chinese mother watches her child in front of a sign reading "birth control is a basic state policy of our country" in Beijing on July 23, 2002. A young Chinese mother watches her child in front of a sign reading "birth control is a basic state policy of our country" in Beijing on July 23, 2002. (Guang Niu / Courtesy Reuters)

Dr. Yanzhong Huang is Senior Fellow for Global Health and the newest writer for Asia Unbound. His first post, “Time for China to Abandon Its Population Control Policy,” attracted significant attention, including a thoughtful response from Edwin A. Winckler, a Senior Research Scholar at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University. Here we have posted both Dr. Winckler’s commentary and a new response from Dr. Huang. We hope you enjoy their discussion.

-Elizabeth Economy, C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies

Read more »