On Monday 28 May, Yi Zhang defended her PhD thesis entitled 'Advancing the right to health care in China'. For this she was awarded a cum laude distinction, an exceptional achievement in the Groningen Law Faculty.
Currently, there is an almost universal commitment to the right to health (care). However, despite the growing legal recognition of this right, empirical evidence suggests that the domestic implementation of the right to health (care) around the globe remains largely rhetorical. For example, although China ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 2001, relatively little attention was paid to the domestic implementation of the right to health care. Violations of this right were also identified in reality. Given that China’s health care reform is entering into the so-called ‘deep-water’ zone, it is of vital importance for the Chinese government to guarantee everyone equal access to health care.
This study aims to identify existing shortcomings in China’s domestic implementation of the right to health care, and to address the remaining challenges through the lens of accountability. Having done so, this study offers recommendations for Chinese law- and policy-makers for implementing China’s obligations under the right to health care through the draft Basic Health Law. Therefore, the central research question is whether and how ‘accountability’ could advance the right to health care in light of China’s unique political, legal and social background. In doing so, this study synthesises two different concepts: (1) the right to health; and (2) accountability, and integrates them into an analytical framework for ‘right to health-based accountability’. The study is expected to establish a constructive accountability model that can be applied to specific health concerns in China, as well as in other countries, particularly those with non-electoral regimes.
Her dissertation can be found here.
This article was published by the Faculty of Law.
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