The purpose of this study was to explore whether and how accountability could advance the right to health care in light of China's unique political, legal and social background. The reasons for conducting this study were first, that although China ratified the ICESCR in 2001, relatively little (scholarly and practical) attention was paid to the domestic implementation of the right to health care, and second, that violations of this right were 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 investigate how to guarantee everyone equal access to health care. Nevertheless, previous studies have not provided a comprehensive review of China's health-related legislation and policies based on right to health standards.
For these reasons, this study systematically assessed the extent to which China has taken (legislative and policy) measures to give effect to the right to health care within its jurisdiction. The objective of this study was 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 (section 8.3 below) for Chinese law- and policy-makers for implementing China's obligations of the right to health care through the draft Basic Health Law (BHL).
The study synthesised the concepts of the right to health and accountability and integrated them into an analytical framework for ‘right to health-based accountability’, which can also be applied in relation to other human rights. More specifically, this study provided a constructive right to health accountability model that can be applied to specific health concerns in China as well as in other countries, particularly those with non-electoral regimes. The findings of this study will be concluded in section 8.2. Subsequently, section 8.3 offers some recommendations and final remarks.
Part 1 laid the foundations for the entire study. It delineated the core obligations that States parties undertake to give effect to the right to health care and evaluated the status quo of the legislative and policy measures that China has taken to realise this right at the domestic level.