Euthanasia for dying boy rejected in Anhui

Updated: 2015-01-23 10:14


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Euthanasia for dying boy rejected in Anhui

The undated photo shows Xiong Zhengqing (R) and his wife carry their son who has been unable to breath on his own. [Photo/CRI and]

The debate over whether euthanasia should be legalized in China has become heated after an application by a couple in Anhui Province for their injured one-year-old son was rejected.

Xiong Zhengqing's son suffered severe brain damage after getting stuck on a conveyer belt last month. The boy is now on life support, unable to breathe on his own.

Jin Danqun of Anhui Provincial Children's Hospital is in charge of the boy's treatment.

"He suffered hypoxia, without a heartbeat and breath for eight minutes. Generally speaking, over four minutes of hypoxia will lead to irreversible brain damage. According to his condition, his recovery is highly unlikely."

To end their son's suffering, Xiong Zhengqing and his wife applied for euthanasia. But the hospital rejected the request, saying it would amount to illegal conduct.

The parents later turned to the local civil affairs bureau to plead their case, but nothing changed.

"It will be rejected everywhere in the country. It's illegal. Though he is ill, as long as he is alive, there should be respect for his life."

The bureau is helping the financially strained family to apply for subsidies from the public health insurance program.

Euthanasia is banned here in China.

But the call for its legislation, especially for minors, has risen in recent years after the media unveiled a series of rejected applications for euthanasia of children with severe birth defects or late-stage cancer.

Supporters say the practice can meet humanitarian principles.

But opponents express concern that legalization of the practice could lead to murder.

Currently, only the Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland allow euthanasia for minors.