Wednesday October 16, 2019

China Protesting Use of Ancient and Traditional Medicine

Many of them are protesting individually by writing directly to family, friends and colleagues who have been treated with

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China, Ancient, Traditional
She has also interviewed hundreds of activists. Pixabay

While the western world looks at embracing alternative forms of treatment, activists in China are protesting the use of ancient and traditional medicine, which hospitals are obliged to offer to patients on an equal footing with modern medical care.

Over a number of years, Chinese researcher Qiaoyan Zhu, who has been affiliated with the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Communication, has collected data on the many thousand science activists in China through observations in Internet forums, on social media and during physical meetings.

She has also interviewed hundreds of activists.

“Many of them are protesting individually by writing directly to family, friends and colleagues who have been treated with — and in some cases taken ill from — Traditional Chinese Medicine.

China, Ancient, Traditional
Over a number of years, Chinese researcher Qiaoyan Zhu, who has been affiliated with the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Communication, has collected data on the many thousand science activists in China through observations in Internet forums. Pixabay

“Some have also hung posters in hospitals and other official institutions to draw attention to the dangers of traditional treatments. But most of the activism takes place online, on social media and blogs,” Zhu said in an article published in the journal Public Understanding of Science.

Together with Professor Maja Horst, Zhu analysed data on activists and their protests.

“The activists are better educated and wealthier than the average Chinese population, and a large majority of them keep up-to-date with scientific developments,” added Horst.

In addition to smaller groups and individual activists that have profiles on social media, larger online groups are also being formed, in some cases gaining a high degree of visibility.

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“The card game with 52 criticisms about Traditional Chinese Medicine that a group of activists produced in 37,000 copies and distributed to family, friends and local poker clubs is a good example. Poker is a highly popular pastime in rural China so the critical deck of cards is a creative way of reaching a large audience,” Horst noted.

Horst and Zhu also found examples of more direct action methods, where local activist groups contact school authorities to complain that traditional Chinese medicine is part of the syllabus in schools., or that activists help patients refuse treatment if they are offered treatment with Traditional Chinese Medicine.

“We have already seen marches for science in the US and Europe so it is not unlikely we will begin to see more activism in favour of science and evidence-based medicine in our part of the world as well,” the researchers wrote. (IANS)

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Restricting AI Research with China Harmful: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

If those tariffs are implemented, virtually all Chinese imports would be subject to punitive taxes

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China is a leading force in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology and blocking AI research with the country will do more harm than good for humanity, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said.

In an interview with the BBC, Nadella said that despite national security concerns, backing out of China would “hurt more” than it solved.

“A lot of AI research happens in the open and the world benefits from knowledge being open,” he said.

Quoting Microsoft President Brad Smith, Nadella said: “We know any technology can be a tool or a weapon. The question is, how do you ensure that these weapons don’t get created? I think there are multiple mechanisms.”

Microsoft Research Asia, the company’s fundamental research arm in the Asia Pacific region, was founded in Beijing in November 1998.

The media reported in April alleged that Microsoft has been collaborating with researchers linked to a Chinese military-backed university on AI. The research covered several AI topics, such as face analysis and machine reading.

Microsoft defended the research, saying that it was part of a worldwide effort by its scientists “to work with their international counterparts on cutting-edge technology issues”, reported the Financial Times.

Microsoft
Microsoft doesn’t use customers’ data for profit: Satya Nadella. (Wikimedia Commons)

According to Nadella, they have control on who gets to use their technology.

“And we do have principles. Beyond how we build it, how people use it is something that we control through Terms of Use. And we are constantly evolving the terms of use,” he added.

The International Monetary Fund has said that the trade war between the US and China was triggering a global economic slowdown.

On September 1, the US followed through on plans to impose a 15 per cent tariff on certain Chinese consumer-goods imports including apparel, electronics, footwear and dairy products, that were valued at around $112 billion in 2018.

Those tariffs were in addition to 25 per cent tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports that began to be imposed on July 2018.

Also Read: iPhone 11 Pro: Seamless Productivity with Creativity (Tech Review)

US President Donald Trump’s administration said that it would wait until December 15 to impose tariffs, now set at 15 per cent, on certain mass-consumption products imported from China, including smartphones, laptops, video games and toys.

If those tariffs are implemented, virtually all Chinese imports would be subject to punitive taxes. (IANS)