LI YANG Rule of law ap­proach needed to help the sick

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - Con­tact the writer chi­ at liyang@

The Beijing-based China In­sti­tute of In­dus­trial Re­la­tions re­jected a fresh­man be­cause he has he­mo­philia.

The school’s decision is based on an opin­ion on the phys­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion of col­lege stu­dents, jointly passed by sev­eral min­istries in 2003. The stu­dent did not dis­close his med­i­cal con­di­tion to the school.

A school can re­ject stu­dents with “se­ri­ous ill­nesses of blood, in­ter­nal se­cre­tion and metabolism sys­tems and rheumatic dis­eases”.

But the file does not clar­ify what makes an ill­ness se­ri­ous. The blurry reg­u­la­tion, which sides with the school, is dis­crim­i­na­tory against ill stu­dents.

Ev­ery cit­i­zen has an equal right to re­ceive a higher ed­u­ca­tion, which he or she should not be de­prived be­cause of ill­nesses that are not in­fec­tious and do not af­fect other stu­dents’ and teach­ers’ health.

The school’s decision runs counter to the prin­ci­ples and spirit of the col­lege, wrote a colum­nist in Shang­hai.

The school’s main con­cern is that if a stu­dent with a med­i­cal con­di­tion is in­volved in an ac­ci­dent, it will face in­creased pres­sure to com­pen­sate that stu­dent.

Chi­nese col­leges need to pro­vide guar­an­tees and ser­vices for the sick stu­dents, and the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry needs to amend reg­u­la­tions to urge schools to do so. It also needs to set up a trans­par­ent le­gal chan­nel to solve pos­si­ble dis­putes.

There should be some com­mer­cial in­surance pro­gram for the sick stu­dents.

At the root of the is­sue is the lack of gov­ern­ment as­sis­tance for the needy.

It was re­ported last week that some vil­lagers in Sichuan prov­ince signed a let­ter to drive away an 8-year-old child with AIDS/HIV.

The United Na­tions is­sued a state­ment call­ing for pro­tect­ing the boy’s in­ter­ests.

But it turned out that the story was con­cocted by two phony re­porters, and the vil­lagers sup­ported the plan, which is to grab the gov­ern­ment’s at­ten­tion to help the boy, who comes from a poor fam­ily.

Med­i­cal re­form in China has gone on for more than 10 years.

After a ba­sic med­i­cal care and in­surance net is es­tab­lished for all, the gov­ern­ment needs to mend its reg­u­la­tions and rules and set up spe­cial funds to help the sick, es­pe­cially in ru­ral ar­eas.

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