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Police beefing up hospital security vigilance

By Shan Juan and Wang Qingyun (China Daily)

08:01, May 02, 2012

Police are stepping up their vigilance for people who disrupt the daily operation of hospitals because such acts violate the Security Management and Punishment Law, the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Public Security said in a joint announcement on Tuesday.

The statement is part of an effort to better maintain order in hospitals and other medical institutions following a series of violent attacks on medical workers in recent months.

On March 23, an 18-year-old man stabbed a doctor to death and wounded three others in a hospital in Harbin, capital city of Heilongjiang province.

Anyone who carries illegal flammable materials, explosives or other items controlled by the government into hospitals, or who insults or threatens medical workers will be held legally accountable, according to the announcement.

People who burn offerings like incense, set up funeral tables and wreaths for patients who died in the hospital and place their bodies outside the morgue for mourning will also be punished, the announcement said.

"Such behaviors, if constituting crimes, will be called to account by the Criminal Law," it said.

The announcement didn't come easy, said Ling Feng, neurosurgery director of Xuanwu Hospital affiliated with Capital Medical University, also a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee.

She had proposed measures to beef up hospital security for five years in a row. "The efforts finally paid off today," she said.

According to Ling, after the annual session of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference this year, the two ministries organized at least two meetings soliciting opinions and ideas from mainly clinical doctors and hospital directors about the announcement.

"Things like setting up funeral tables and displaying bodies of deceased patients were unique to China, and we need the police to help with the response and prevent them from further escalating into violence," she said.

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