‘Poi­son’ doc­tor gets sup­port

Aca­demic com­ments should be re­spected: group

Global Times US Edition - - CHINA - By Yin Han

China’s doc­tors as­so­ci­a­tion on Mon­day said it will of­fer le­gal as­sis­tance to a Guangzhou-based doc­tor, who faces pros­e­cu­tion af­ter call­ing a popular Chi­nese medic­i­nal liquor “poi­son,” which has sparked con­tro­versy in China over the al­leged abuses of lo­cal of­fi­cials.

“It does no good for so­ci­ety if an ar­ti­cle aimed at spread­ing knowl­edge is not tol­er­ated,” Deng Liqiang, di­rec­tor of the le­gal de­part­ment of the Chi­nese Med­i­cal Doc­tor As­so­ci­a­tion (CMDA), told the Global Times.

The doc­tor, Tan Qin­dong, 39, wrote an ar­ti­cle in De­cem­ber 2017, say­ing “Hong­mao medic­i­nal liquor is poi­son.” Tan has been de­tained since Jan­uary 2018 by the pub­lic se­cu­rity bu­reau in Liangcheng county in North China’s In­ner Mon­go­lia Au­tonomous Re­gion, where the medic­i­nal liquor com­pany is based, Bei­jing Youth Daily re­ported on Sun­day.

A team from CMDA will meet with Tan’s wife Liu Xuan on Tues­day and will sign an agree­ment to pro­vide fur­ther le­gal as­sis­tance, Deng said.

Au­thor­i­ties should treat di­verse aca­demic ar­gu­ments and re­marks with cau­tion and avoid crim­i­nal­iz­ing civil dis­putes, the as­so­ci­a­tion said in a Mon­day state­ment.

Deng’s ar­ti­cle said that Hong­mao medic­i­nal liquor ex­ag­ger­ates its ef­fi­ciency in ad­ver­tise­ments, and said he doubts whether the com­pany can prove the liquor is ca­pa­ble of cur­ing mul­ti­ple dis­eases, such as ar­te­rioscle­ro­sis and my­ocar­dial in­farc­tion as it claims, Bei­jing Youth Daily re­ported Mon­day.

In 2003, China’s food and drug reg­u­la­tor con­sid­ered the al­co­hol an OTC drug. The China Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion (CFDA) or­dered on Mon­day the com­pany to ex­plain its false ad­ver­tis­ing dur­ing the past five years and the safety and ef­fec­tive­ness of the medicine.

The CFDA’s sys­tem has recorded 137 cases of ad­verse re­ac­tions of the liquor from 2004 to 2017, in­clud­ing dizzi­ness, itch­ing, rashes, vom­it­ing and ab­dom­i­nal pain, it said in a state­ment.

The medic­i­nal liquor ad was banned in Fe­bru­ary by the Shaanxi Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion dur­ing a cam­paign to stamp out fraud and false ad­ver­tis­ing.

“It is not proper to say that it can cure dis­eases since it is cat­e­go­rized as a food or health care prod­uct, and not sold as medicine in our hos­pi­tal,” Cui Yongqiang, an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at Guang’an­men Hos­pi­tal, told the Global Times on Mon­day.

The liquor com­pany claims to have lost busi­ness from two com­pa­nies over Tan’s ar­ti­cle, which led to losses of over 1.37 mil­lion yuan ($218,000), said the Bei­jing Youth Daily re­port, cit­ing a tes­ti­mony of the pub­lic se­cu­rity bu­reau in Liangcheng county where Tan was de­tained.

“We are not clear about the process of the tes­ti­mony and we do not rec­og­nize the fig­ure. They can­not prove that the com­pa­nies re­turned the liquor be­cause they read Tan’s ar­ti­cle,” Bei­jing Youth Daily re­ported, cit­ing Hu Dingfeng, Tan’s de­fense lawyer.

“Due to Tan’s ar­ti­cle, Tan could be con­victed if the liquor is not proven to be poi­sonous,” Yan Yim­ing, a Shang­hai-based lawyer told the Global Times on Mon­day.

“How­ever, cases also ex­ist where cor­po­ra­tions with a strong in­flu­ence in lo­cal ar­eas in­ter­fere in law en­force­ment, which should be strictly for­bid­den,” Yan said.

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