ChinaDaily (in an article by Wang Hongy from Shanghai) reported on a recent survey by Shanghai Jiao Tong University (December 2013) , which shows that about 70% of 3400 polled residents from 34 cities ‘do not object to euthanasia or can accept the idea’. This would imply that two third of Chinese have an open mind towards euthanasia.
The topic of death has long been taboo in China. In Chinese tradition, the word for “death” is considered bad luck and isn’t mentioned, especially on special days like birthdays and holidays when elderly people are present. In most cases, people spare no effort to obtain the best medical care available to extend the lives of their loved ones, even if only for a brief time, who are in the terminal stage of a disease.
But, said Zhong Yang the research centre’s director: “In China, people’s attitudes toward death have changed with the times, and more people hope to die painlessly.”
In recent years, a series of cases about assisted suicide, allegedly to ease suffering, has given rise to a nationwide debate on euthanasia, which is banned under current Chinese law.
Yu Hai, a sociology professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, said that euthanasia is a complex issue that includes many factors, including ethics issues, jurisprudence and medical treatment and technology.
“Although many people subjectively identify with euthanasia, it’s hard to conclude that they would practice it in reality,” Yu told China Daily.
He said that the country so far is not ready to legalize euthanasia: “It’s too early to practice euthanasia in the country right now. It might be more feasible to explore ways to make people die with dignity and lessen the pain.”