Bioethics for clinicians: 20. Chinese bioethics

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CHINESE CANADIANS FORM ONE OF THE LARGEST GROUPS in the Canadian cultural mosaic. Many of the assumptions implicit in a Western autonomy-based approach to bioethical deliberation may not be shared by Chinese Canadians. In traditional Chinese culture, greater social and moral meaning rests in the interdependence of family and community, which overrides self-determination. Consequently, many Chinese may vest in family members the right to receive and disclose information, to make decisions and to organize patient care. Furthermore, interactions between Chinese patients and health care workers may be affected by important differences in values and goals and in the perception of the nature and meaning of illness. Acknowledging and negotiating these differences can lead to considerable improvement in communication and in the quality of care.

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