90 Foreign Aff. 119 (2011)
The Sick Man of Asia - China's Health Crisis

handle is hein.journals/fora90 and id is 1095 raw text is: The Sick Man of Asia
China's Health Crisis
Tanzhong Huang
ALTHOUGH CHINA has made remarkable economic progress over
the past few decades, its citizens' health has not improved as much.
Since 1980, the country has achieved an average economic growth
rate of ten percent and lifted 400-500 million people out of poverty.
Yet Chinese official data suggest that average life expectancy in
China rose by only about five years between 1981 and 2009, from
roughly 68 years to 73 years. (It had increased by almost 33 years between
1949 and 1980.) In countries that had similar life expectancy levels
in 1981 but had slower economic growth thereafter-Colombia,
Malaysia, Mexico, and South Korea, for example-by 2009 life
expectancy had increased by 7-14 years. According to the World
Bank, even in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore, which
had much higher life expectancy figures than China in 1981, those
figures rose by 7-10 years during the same period.
A look at China's disease burden also reveals a worrisome picture.
Like many less developed countries, China still battles a legion of
microbial and viral threats, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, viral
hepatitis, and rabies. For instance, more than 130 million people in
China have the hepatitis B virus-accounting for about one-third of
all HBV carriers in the world. Meanwhile, chronic noncommunicable
diseases, which are typical of developed countries, are becoming an
YANZHONG HUANG is Senior Fellow for Global Health at the Council
on Foreign Relations and Associate Professor at the John C. Whitehead
School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University.


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