Documentary Photographer Jiwei Han is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor this social documentary photography. From the ongoing project ‘Hugging Death’. To see Jiwei’s body of work, click on any image.
Death is a taboo subject in China and anything associated with it is believed to bring misfortune. There is a place for death, during the past 27 years, more than 30,000 patients have spent their last days in there that means around 3 patients dead every day. Beijing Songtang Caring Hospice, established in 1987, one of only two hospices in Beijing. Throughout China, there are just 30 hospices and 120 palliative care facilities in both private and public hospitals.
As China becomes an aging society, relying only on young people to look after the elderly is not realistic. A study in 2010 reported that Beijing has more than 15,300 people dying of cancer every year. More than 90% of the patients with late-stage cancer are not receiving help to relieve their suffering because due to the lack of hospice care. If looking at the reports of”The Quality of Death Index (2010 and 2015)” are published by EIU in conjunction with the Lien Foundation, a fact clearly shows that in almost every way, China was investigated in relation to other industrialized and developing countries, the nation’s end of life capabilities and approaches were ranked very low, and seems do not have any developing during the past five years. Especially, the part of children hospice caring was completely ignored.
Even though the debate of the end-of-life care in its modern form was introduced in China more than 20 years ago, but to the public and even many medical personnel, it is still a strange concept that they find difficult to understand and being accepted. For the problem of palliative and end-of-life care, the fact that China faces these problem much larger than any countries in the world and should help move the conversation and policy environment forward.
All images © Jiwei Han
By Jiwei Han