Military metaphors are pervasive in biomedicine, including HIV research. Rooted in the mind set that regards pathogens as enemies to be defeated, terms such as “shock and kill” have become widely accepted idioms within HIV cure research. Such language and symbolism must be critically examined as they may be especially problematic when used to express scientific ideas within emerging health-related fields. In this article, philosophical analysis and an interdisciplinary literature review utilizing key texts from sociology, anthropology, history, and Chinese and (...) African studies were conducted to investigate the current proliferation of military metaphors. We found the use of these metaphors to be ironic, unfortunate, and unnecessary. To overcome military metaphors we propose to give them less aggressive meanings, and/or replace them with more peaceful metaphors. Building on previous authors' work, we argue for the increased use of “journey” metaphors as meaningful, cross-culturally app... (shrink)
To monopolize the scientific data gained by Japanese physicians and researchers from vivisections and other barbarous experiments performed on living humans in biological warfare programs such as Unit 731, immediately after the war the United States government secretly granted those involved immunity from war crimes prosecution, withdrew vital information from the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, and publicly denounced otherwise irrefutable evidence from other sources such as the Russian Khabarovsk trial. Acting in “the national interest” and for the (...) security of the US, authorities in the US tramped justice and morality, and engaged in what the English common law tradition clearly defines as “complicity after the fact.” To repair this historical injustice, the US government should issue an official apology and offer appropriate compensation for having covered up Japanese medical war crimes for six decades. To help prevent similar acts of aiding principal offender in the future, international declarations or codes of human rights and medical ethics should include a clause banning any kind of complicity in any unethical medicine—whether before or after the fact—by any state or group for whatever reasons. (shrink)
In 1945–46, representatives of the U.S. government made similar discoveries in both Germany and Japan, unearthing evidence of unethical experiments on human beings that could be viewed as war crimes. The outcomes in the two defeated nations, however, were strikingly different. In Germany, the United States, influenced by the Canadian physician John Thompson, played a key role in bringing Nazi physicians to trial and publicizing their misdeeds. In Japan, the United States played an equally key role in concealing information about (...) the biological warfare experiments and in securing immunity from prosecution for the perpetrators. The greater force of appeals to national security and wartime exigency help to explain these different outcomes. (shrink)
This collection brings together fourteen contributions by authors from around the globe. Each of the contributions engages with questions about how local and global bioethical issues are made to be comparable, in the hope of redressing basic needs and demands for justice. These works demonstrate the significant conceptual contributions that can be made through feminists' attention to debates in a range of interrelated fields, especially as they formulate appropriate responses to developments in medical technology, global economics, population shifts, and poverty.
Contemporary bioethical issues are inherently cross-cultural and global in their scope. This is not surprising, as bioethical matters touch everyone in one way or another. Moral quandaries in health-care, life sciences, and biotechnology do not respect natural and human boundaries, the boundaries between and within nation-states, ethnicities, cultures, communities, and social groups. In addition, the simultaneously large-scale and intimate interactions between and within different cultures and civilizations and the rapid pace at which they change are phenomena that distinguish our times (...) from previous eras. Bioethics—as a particular domain of public discourse and an academic discipline—has thus been rapidly... (shrink)
In late 1949 the former Soviet Union conducted an open trial of eight Japanese physicians and researchers and four other military servicemen in Khabarovsk, a city in eastern Siberia. Despite its strong ideological tone and many obvious shortcomings such as the lack of international participation, the trial established beyond reasonable doubt that the Japanese army had prepared and deployed bacteriological weapons and that Japanese researchers had conducted cruel experiments on living human beings. However, the trial, together with the evidence presented (...) to the court and its major findings — which have proved remarkably accurate — was dismissed as communist propaganda and totally ignored in the West until the 1980s. This paper reviews the 1949 Khabarovsk trial, examines the West's dismissal of the proceedings as mere propaganda and draws some moral lessons for bioethics today. As an important historical case, set in the unique socio-political context of the Cold War, the West's dismissal of the trial powerfully illustrates some perennial ethical issues such as the ambivalence of evidence and the power of ideology in making (or failing to make) cross-national and cross-cultural factual and moral judgments. (shrink)
: Since the late 1970s, American appraisals of Chinese medical ethics and Chinese responses to American bioethics range from frank criticism to warm appreciation, from refutation to acceptance. Yet in the United States as well as in China, American bioethics and Chinese medical ethics have been seen, respectively, as individualistic and communitarian. In this widely-accepted general comparison, the great variation in the two medical moralities, especially the diversity of Chinese experiences, has been unfortunately minimized, if not totally ignored. Neither American (...) bioethics nor Chinese medical ethics is a field with only one dominant way of thinking. Medical moralities in America and China--traditional and modern--have always been plural and diverse. For example, American and Chinese cultures and medical moralities both exhibit individualistic and communitarian traditions. For this reason, bioethics in general and cross-cultural bioethics in particular must be fundamentally interpretive. Interpretive cross-cultural bioethics appreciates the plurality of medical morality within any culture. It can serve as a vital means of social and cultural criticism through engaged interpretations. (shrink)
:The Chinese Communist Party government has been forcefully promoting itsjihua shengyu program, known as the “one-child policy,” for more than three decades. A distinctive authoritarian model of population governance has been developed. A pertinent question to be asked is whether China’s one-child policy and the authoritarian model of population governance have a future. The answer must be no; they do not. Although there are many demographic, economic, and social rationales for terminating the one-child policy, the most fundamental reason for opposing (...) its continuation is drawn from ethics. The key ethical rationale offered for the policy is that it promotes the common social good, not only for China and the Chinese people but for the whole human family. The major irony associated with this apparently convincing justification is that, although designed to improve living standards and help relieve poverty and underdevelopment, the one-child policy and the application of the authoritarian model have instead caused massive suffering to Chinese people, especially women, and made them victims of state violence. A lesson from China—one learned at the cost of individual and social suffering on an enormous scale—is that an essential prerequisite for the pursuit of the common good is the creation of adequate constraints on state power. (shrink)
Since the early 1970s, despite popular opposition, to control the rapid growth of population the Chinese government has been carrying out the strictest and most comprehensive family planning policy in the world. In addition to contraceptive methods and sterilization, artificial abortionhas been used as an important measure of birth control under the policy. Many women have been required, persuaded, and even forced by the authorities to abort fetuses no matter how much they want to give birth.
Extensive conflicts of interest at both individual and institutional levels are identifiable in scientific research and healthcare in China, as in many other parts of the world. A prominent new case from China is He Jiankui’s experiment that produced the world’s first gene-edited babies and that raises numerous ethical, political, socio-cultural, and transnational questions. Serious financial and other COI were involved in He’s genetic adventure. Using He’s infamous experiment as a case study, this paper explores the wider issue of financial (...) and other COI in scientific research and healthcare in China, especially institutional conflict of interest and policy-related COI. Taking a socio-ethical perspective, it examines China’s state policies and its massive efforts to transform and commercialize scientific research, the lack of policies and oversight mechanisms for regulating COI, as well as major ethical issues arising from COI including the undermining of public trust. Some practical suggestions are offered for institutional reform and institutional development so that COI, particularly ICOI, can be avoided or more effectively managed in scientific research in China. (shrink)
There exists a serious shortage of organs for transplantation in China, more so than in most Western countries. Confucianism has been commonly used as the cultural and ethical reason to explain the reluctance of Chinese and other East-Asian people to donate organs for medical purposes. It is asserted that the Confucian emphasis on xiao requires individuals to ensure body intactness at death. However, based on the original texts of classical Confucianism and other primary materials, we refute this popular view. We (...) base our position on the related Confucian norms of filial piety and ren, the tension between differentiated love and universal love, and belief in the goodness of human nature. In light of this, we argue that the Confucian ethical outlook actually calls for organ donation at an individual level, and supports an opt-out system at the level of social policy. Furthermore, because the popular view is based on a number of dominant but misleading modes of thinking about cultural differences, our revisionist account of Confucian moral duties regarding organ donation has implications for developing a more adequate transcultural and global bioethics. These will be discussed and expanded upon. (shrink)
This paper examines older people’s access to care experiences in rural China by integrating anthropological investigation with ethical inquiry. Six months of fieldwork in a post-reform primary hospital show how rural residents struggle to access gerontological and nursing care under socially disadvantageous conditions. This anthropological investigation highlights the unmet needs in medical and nursing care for older people, as well as some social, institutional and structural elements that impede access to care. Centring on protecting the vulnerable as informed by feminist (...) ethics scholarship, this paper argues that the failure to meet older people’s dependency needs is unjust, on the premise that it suggests a denial of the inherent value, rights and dignity of older people. This paper appeals for the provision of greater care and support by the state through putting in place social arrangements that better advance older people’s access to care. Some policy recommendations concerning health and social care reform for older people in rural China are also proposed. (shrink)
This paper aims to explore some key methodological issues in comparative and cross-cultural bioethics, through a discussion of a particular example: childhood and adolescent Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.1 At its heart, this paper makes an argument for a transcultural approach to bioethics. The argument starts with the examination of a conceptually mistaken and empirically unsustainable belief that culture is inevitably a force for difference. This “difference presumption” appears in various guises, for example in the belief that West and East have (...) altogether different “mentalities” and ethical ideas, reflective of a number of dichotomies such as individualization vs communitarianism. This... (shrink)
Bioethics, as both an academic field and a public discourse on a global scale, has been evolving rapidly over the past several decades. The importance of cross-cultural and global bioethics as a subfield of bioethics is strongly reflected in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal. Since 1991, KIEJ has published a number of articles and some thematic issues in this area. Among many others, it has facilitated a series of debates in the development of a cross-cultural and international bioethics, including (...) the issues of universalism and multiculturalism, the eastern and western perspectives on personhood, and the possibility of the common morality (Vol.13... (shrink)