BEIJING - Chinese researchers have identified two new risk gene variants that are responsible for leprosy.The findings have been published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.The research, led by Yao Yonggang from the Chinese Academy of Sciences Kunming institute of zoology, was based on a study involving 1,433 patients with leprosy and 1,625 healthy individuals from Southwest China's Yunnan province.More than 30 risk genes affecting susceptibility to leprosy have been identified. The research team has identified and validated two new rare damaging variants in HIF1A and LACC1 genes that can increase risk of developing the disease.Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease which can cause nerve damage, leading to muscle weakness and atrophy, and permanent disability. Leprosy patients also suffer from discrimination.In 2011, China announced plans to eradicate the disease by 2020.China had reduced incidence of the disease to less than 1 case per 10,000 people in 1981, but leprosy remains a major problem in some rural areas in Southwest China.As of the end of 2016, more than 50,000 people with leprosy had been cured in Yunnan province.The number of new cases reported in the province accounts for about one fourth of the country's total. It still has 44 counties with serious leprosy problems.According to the China Leprosy Association, nearly 480,000 people have been given free treatment and cured over the past half century, and now only 6,000 people suffer from the disease in the whole country. figured wristband
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Glance from Kowloon on the skyline of Hong Kong. [Photo/VCG] Subsequent to the British House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee's report that attempts to tarnish the implementation of one country, two systems in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region by coining the new term one country, one and a half systems, a group of British politicians went a step further on Monday by trying to intervene in the SAR's legislative process. In a brazen intervention in the internal affairs of the SAR, 14 Members of Parliament suggested the British government consider whether the proposed amendment to Hong Kong's extradition law, which was tabled last Wednesday at the Legislative Council, may affect existing rendition agreements between London and Hong Kong. The amendment is intended to plug a legal loophole which has threatened to turn Hong Kong into a haven for criminals, as at present fugitives cannot be returned to other parts of China and be brought to justice. The SAR government has already pointed out the proposed amendment strictly follows international protocols for rendition, such as it not being for political, racial or religious reasons, and the crimes involved must be indictable in both places. Moreover, all requests for rendition will be vetted by local courts, whose professionalism is world-renowned; and only crimes punishable by three years of imprisonment or more will be considered. Hong Kong's rule of law is among the best in the world and the British government knows this very well. In the 2019 World Justice Project Rule of Law Index, Hong Kong ranks 16th out of 126 countries and regions studied. The move by the British MPs was apparently a follow-up to the parliamentary report as well as the British government's earlier six-monthly report to Parliament, which made similar accusations. The central and SAR governments have rightly and categorically rejected the ridiculous claims. The six-monthly report and the parliamentary report both claim that the two systems in the one country, two systems principle has been undermined by the central government, but the incidents they cite as proof, such as the banning of separatist organizations and disqualification of lawmakers violating the oath-taking law, only reveal their true purpose. As far as the implementation of the one country, two systems principle in the SAR is concerned, the British are deliberately trying to skew it to justify interference by the British government. China does not need Britain's instructions on how to maintain sovereign rule over Hong Kong. And Britain should accept that Hong Kong is not its responsibility anymore. China's National People's Congress drew up Hong Kong's Basic Law in accordance with the country's Constitution. That is why one country comes before two systems, not the other way around.
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