January 6-13, 2006

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Language exchange

"The most important characteristic of a chief executive of any region is that he or she should be a noble person."

- Li Ka Shing, business tycoon from Hong Kong, on the topic of the special administrative region's future chief executive. see more

Arabian delights

CHEF Tarek Mouriess carried about 10 kinds of ingredients in his suitcase on his flight to Shanghai to host an Arabic Food Promotion at the Hilton Shanghai.
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Medical ethics include billing policies

By Cai Shangyao

Perhaps one of the most talked about news stories at the end of 2005 was the huge medical bill scandal in Northeast China's city of Harbin.
The bill for the last 67 days that 74-year-old lymphatic cancer patient Weng Wenhui spent in the intensive care unit at a Harbin hospital amounted to a staggering 5.5 million yuan (US$680,000). Of that, 4 million yuan (US$493,000) was for imported medicine which the hospital urged Weng's family to buy.
Weng's astronomical bill caused a huge media frenzy and public outcry. Such a high hospital bill deserves our attention.
The incident revealed severe irregularities in the hospital. In the 67 days, Weng was billed for transfusions of about 115 kilograms of blood, and for 588 tests for blood sugar. He was said to have taken in 87 litres of liquid through a drip in a single day.
What is more ridiculous is that after the patient's death, the hospital continued to do blood testing for another six days, which cost an extra 260,000 yuan (US$32,000). Obviously the hospital had falsified medical records and bills by documenting non-existent examinations and treatments.
Hospital mismanagement is an issue that should not be overlooked and must be dealt with effectively.
There are obviously some problems with the current medical system. Though most hospitals in China are still State-run, government funding in health care has been slashed, and hospitals are supposed to make profits from the drugs and medical treatments. As a result, most hospitals worry more about profit than the health of the patients in their care.
Moreover, there is little independent and rigorous oversight of health care institutions, making the misconduct easy and rampant.
It can't be denied that there is an erosion of medical ethics among physicians and administrators of health care providers. The examples of medical immorality that get reported are just the tip of an iceberg.
The physicians and administrators should be condemned for lack of professional ethics. However, more important are these questions: What should be done to strengthen professional discipline and medical ethics among health workers and what measures should be taken to regulate medical services to prevent such immoral medical practices?
This medical bill scandal may be an extreme case, but it can serve as a useful negative example for the future, if lessons learnt from it can be properly absorbed and digested.
(The author is a translator and freelancer)

Cai Shaoyao

Balance public opinion and judicial independence



End of the Dream
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Auto fans melt away
With the approach of the Formula One Grand Prix, Yu Zhifei, deputy general manager of the Shanghai International Circuit, was worried about how to attract enough spectators to the circuit and rev up sluggish fan interest in the event.
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Under artificial eyes

FOR most customers, CCTV (closed-circuit television) surveillance cameras installed in shops, banks, buses or metro stops and many other places, merit little attention. But for Xiao Gang, such cameras have become an agonizing and confusing problem.

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