Development of China's Public Health as an Essential Element of Human Rights

Society
The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China published a white paper titled "Development of China's Public Health as an Essential Element of Human Rights" on Sept. 29.

China SCIOUpdated: September 30, 2017
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II. Continuous Improvement of Health Environment and Conditions

China is keen to promote a healthy lifestyle, national fitness and health education, protect food and drinking water safety, and improve the environment for production, people's life, ecology and society in order to better guarantee the Chinese people's right to health.

Developing a healthy lifestyle. In 2007, China launched the Healthy Lifestyle for All campaign, calling on the Chinese people to develop a healthy diet and engage in physical exercises, advocating healthy lifestyle ideas, creating a supporting environment for a healthy lifestyle, and enhancing the people's awareness and behavioral abilities to develop a healthy lifestyle. By the end of 2016, the campaign had covered 81.87 percent of counties (districts) across the country. China published the Chinese Dietary Guidelines (2016) that provides healthy dietary guidance to the Chinese people in general, and to children and the elderly in particular to help them develop a balanced diet and nutrition absorption; the government has intensified monitoring of the Chinese people's nutritional status and health conditions while keeping track of, and issue information about chronic diseases and the people's nutritional status; it urges the Chinese people to reduce their salt intake, and publicizes information on how to prevent and control high blood pressure; it has adopted measures to improve the nutritional status of key populations and instituted a nutritional improvement plan for compulsory education students in rural areas as well as nutritional improvement programs for children in poverty-stricken areas; the government is continuing to tighten control on the use of tobacco and implement the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. In 2014, Shenzhen began to activate the Regulations of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone on Smoking Control; in 2015, Beijing implemented the Beijing Regulation on Smoking Control; in 2017, Shanghai enacted revised Regulations of Shanghai Municipality on Smoking Control in Public Places, banning indoor smoking in public areas. By the end of 2016, 18 cities had adopted regulations on a smoke-free environment, covering one tenth of the population.

Giving full play to national physical fitness. Physical fitness has become a national strategy, and the work regarding people's physical fitness has been included in economic and social development plans, fiscal budgets and annual work reports of governments at all levels. A development trajectory of nationwide physical fitness "led by the government, coordinated among relevant sectors and participated by all" has taken shape. Since the National Fitness Regulations were promulgated in 2009, 16 provinces and ten major cities have worked out local regulations on fitness for all, and all of the country's 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government have worked out provincial-level fitness-for-all programs. Since 2009, August 8 has become National Fitness Day in China. From 2011 to 2014, 3,405 fitness centers, 9,447 community multipurpose sports playgrounds, 2,366 sports parks, 24,879 fitness squares and 878 outdoor camps were established nationwide, with 1.69 million outdoor fitness facilities installed. Physical fitness venues and facilities can be found in communities (administrative villages), sub-districts (towns and townships), counties (districts) and cities (prefectures). By the end of 2015, up to 33.9 percent of the whole population engaged in physical exercises on a regular basis; the per capita sports venue area reached 1.57 square meters; the coverage rate of sports associations at county level and above was 72 percent; the number of various kinds of juvenile sports clubs was 7,147; every ten thousand people shared three fitness centers on average, and thus a popular national fitness network was basically formed.

Promoting national health education. Publicity media, such as newspapers, television, radio, the Internet and other forms of new media are utilized for public health publicity, education and consultation to help people develop a self-tailored and self-disciplined healthy lifestyle. China celebrates National Environment and Health Publicity Week every year; it has promulgated the Environment and Health Literacy of the Chinese Citizens (Trial) and a code of conduct for Chinese citizens with the slogan "Breathe the same air and get it done together" to improve air quality and intensify publicity and education through basic public health services and health education, health literacy promotion campaigns, the "Healthy Chinese" and "TCM in China" initiatives, and major theme-day public health publicity. Health awareness in both urban and rural areas rose to 10.25 percent in 2015 from 6.48 percent in 2008.

Vigorously pursuing environmental improvement. Joint pollution prevention and control between different regions has been enhanced; air quality monitoring facilities at county and district levels in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta function as a network; a network monitoring particle matter (PM) and photochemical pollutants in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and neighboring areas is in full operation. From 2011 to 2015, the nationwide chemical oxygen demand, emissions of ammonia nitrogen, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide decreased by 12.9 percent, 13 percent, 18 percent and 18.6 percent, respectively. In 2016, the PM 2.5 average concentration dropped by 6.0 percent year on year and the number of days with excellent and good air quality increased by 2.1 percentage points year on year in 338 cities at the prefectural level and above. In 2013, China enacted the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan; from 2014 to 2016, about 16 million heavily-polluting vehicles and old vehicles that couldn't meet the environmental protection standards were eliminated; all coal-fired generators have realized desulfurization and denitrification; ultra-low emissions have been encouraged, and by March 2017 coal-fired generators of about 500 million kw had been improved to achieve ultra-low emissions; the Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Soil Pollution has been enacted, and a comprehensive survey of soil pollution has been launched; the Rules on Environmental Management of the Soil of Contaminated Sites (Trial) have been promulgated. A fund for soil pollution prevention and control has been set up, and from 2016 to 2017, RMB15 billion was earmarked by the government for this purpose. A national soil environment network has been primarily established, with 22,000 basic monitoring spots and about 15,000 risk-monitoring stations; the Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution has been promoted and completely implemented; the comprehensive management of the environment surrounding the river valleys has been enhanced; the environmental protection of the Yangtze River Economic Belt has been pursued, and the investigation of black and odorous water bodies in urban areas has been carried out; in 2016, according to the state-controlled monitoring bodies of surface water, the proportion of such spots of Grades I-III reached 67.8 percent, while that of inferior water bodies of Grade V dropped to 8.6 percent.

Progress in comprehensive management of environmental hygiene in urban and rural areas. The China Healthy Cities and Towns Initiative is being pursued to largely improve living conditions in urban and rural areas. According to a survey in 2012, since the initiative was introduced, the proportion of standardized fairs and markets had risen to 60.6 percent from 35.2 percent, and the percent of residents who are satisfied with urban amenities and the environment increased from 30 percent to 98 percent, with 98 percent of them satisfied with the effect of the initiative. By the end of 2015, the sewage treatment rate in urban areas had increased to 92 percent while the pollution-free treatment rate of household garbage in urban built-up areas had reached 94.1 percent. Comprehensive environmental improvement had been carried out in 78,000 villages, benefiting over 140 million people in rural areas; waste treatment and resource utilization facilities had been installed in 61,000 large-scale livestock and poultry farms. By the end of 2016, the treatment rate of household garbage in rural areas was around 60 percent, and the proportion of administrative villages with sewage treatment had reached 22 percent. In 2016, 80.4 percent of rural households use toilets while the rate was 71.7 percent in 2012; in some provinces in the more developed eastern areas the figure was 90 percent or higher.

Drinking water safety issues in rural areas basically solved. From 2006 to 2010, the investment in safe drinking water projects in rural areas reached RMB105.3 billion, providing safe drinking water to 212 million rural residents in 190,000 administrative villages. From 2011 to 2015, RMB121.5 billion from the central government and over RMB60 billion from local governments were appropriated for safe drinking water projects in rural areas. By the end of 2016, the safe drinking water monitoring covered over 85 percent of rural villages, and up to 82 percent of rural residents enjoy centralized water supply. The state has allocated funds to areas with particular difficulties, and raised the subsidy standards, such as by appropriating RMB495 million to provide safe drinking water to over 1,400 monasteries, 32,300 monks and nuns and 60,000 other residents with temporary needs in the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Enhancing occupational health management. In 2011, China revised the Law of the People's Republic of China on Prevention and Control of Occupational Diseases. Campaigns were launched to control and reduce the hazards associated with fine dust and toxic stuff during production processes in particular sectors, such as quartz sand processing, asbestos mining and asbestos-product manufacturing, gold mining, cement manufacturing, stone-material processing, ceramics and refractory-material production. Corporations are urged to increase investment to improve production processes and protection measures for employees. Operational environment and conditions at workplaces have been primarily improved. By the end of 2016, the government, in accordance with the law, had punished the corporations that refused or failed to improve their occupational health management, demanding 1,524 corporations to suspend production for rectification, shutting down 1,576 corporations in response to public demand, and eliminating 426 illegal enterprises. The government has intensified supervision and inspection on occupational health management of employers. From 2013 to 2016, the number of corporations nationwide that had been brought under government supervision and inspection increased from 229,000 to 395,000, up by 72.5 percent.

Tougher control of food safety. In 2015, China revised the Food Safety Law. In 2016, regulatory agencies at all levels conducted inspections of the food production process of 521,000 food producers, 15,000 food additive producers, and 72,000 food processing workshops. As for the selling of food products, regulatory agencies at all levels conducted inspections of 12.093 million businesses, and 8.869 million catering services. In 2016, competent authorities conducted random inspections on 257,000 food samples, of which 96.8 percent met the required standards, and properly settled several food safety incidents, including one involving the sale of counterfeit infant formulas.

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