China approves new law to protect whistleblowers and prevent epidemics
Beijing passed a new law on Saturday to protect whistleblowers who disclose information about public health emergencies as part of wider efforts to improve its handling of disease outbreaks.
Chinese lawmakers said it also hopes that the new biosecurity law fixes systemic flaws such as those that hampered China's initial response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The new law, which takes effect from April 15 next year, calls on citizens to report "acts that endanger biosecurity."
"Any work unit or individual has the right to report acts that endanger biosecurity," the regulation states.
"When a report is required according to the law, no work unit or individual shall conceal [it] ... or hinder others from making a report," the law adds, referring to infectious diseases and epidemics.
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What does the new law entail?
Under the new biosecurity law, anyone who conceals information, fails to file reports or prevents others from reporting infectious diseases could be given warnings or suspended.
In the case of an emergency, health workers can under the new legislation report health risks directly to the local government and would not be punished if information turned out to be false.
The law also calls for the tracing of outbreak origins as well as the development of systems to regularly monitor biosafety risks.
Lawmakers also appealed to disease prevention agencies to help predict the occurrence and prevalence of emerging diseases and announce warnings and adopt prevention measures accordingly.
In September, the Beijing city government ...
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