Smoke Alert

Last month, the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) contributed to the scientist in their ranks after his fourth attempt to enter the sacred body. Not big news, except, perhaps, the researcher in question, Xie Jianping, 52, happens to work at state-owned tobacco industry. Even in a country shrouded in cigarette smoke - last year’s nation wide ban on smoking in many public places are routinely ignored - the appointment caused a small furor.

On January 4, Global Times, a large-format Feisty, ran a story saying that the appointment of a person who is vice-president of the local Tobacco Research Institute financed by the Government of China National Tobacco Corporation monopoly (CNTC) “is another example of how well connected and influential state cigarette industry in China, “Xie research centers on adding traditional Chinese herbs to reduce the tar content of cigarettes - despite several international studies have shown that low-tar cigarettes are many harmful. He serves as editor in chief of Science and Technology Tobacco and has 23 patents and four copyrights to his name, according to the site, Zhengzhou Tobacco Research Institute, where he works.

It is not clear how this research refers to a technique, though apparently CAE honors some of the scientists who are not engineers. On its website, CAE argues that his boys are chosen for their “contribution to social progress” and that they should have an “excellent moral character.”

China churns out more cigarettes than any other country. Half of Chinese men smoke. Global Times reported that the CNTC paid about $ 75 billion in taxes in 2010, “making it one of the largest sources of revenue for state and local governments.” Of course, these gains come at significant cost. More than 1 million Chinese die of smoking-related diseases each year, according to Chinese statistics, the government is likely to undercount the dead.

He is the recipient of two second-class Chinese national scientific and technological progress awards. It is not the only scientist of tobacco, was elected to the CAE. In 1997, Zhu Zunquan, now 92-year-old researcher, who is revered as the “founder and director of science and technology of tobacco into China,” was selected to join the CAE. It is not clear whether the nonagenarian is a smoker.

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