I blogged recently about the involvement of numerous hospitals associated with the People’s Liberation Army, Chinese navy and domestic armed police forces in stem cell pseudomedicine, and publicly questioned whether the combined forces of the Ministry of Health and SFDA would be able to take on the military establishment in a showdown over the regulation of such unscientific clinical uses. 


Well, on checking the URLs I mentioned in my post last month, I find that none of the military-or government-affiliated hospital sites are accessible to me here in Japan. For any Chinese-speaking readers out there, the sites appear to be safely archived in the Wayback Machine, but for now they just produce 404 errors across the board. 


Given the IP-blocking shenanigns used by Elisees in Germany, I was curious about whether the sites were actually down, or just blocked from foreign eyes by the invisible hand of the Party’s internet censors. So I contacted a colleague in China, who informed me that the sites are still up, still have live chat operators standing by, and still welcome foreign patients, meaning that this is probably more an exercise in airbrushing the internet than an actual crackdown.  The situation bears following, to say the least. 


In any case, it would be ironic if, after years of scrutiny and loud criticism from the West (including your faithful correspondent), China does effectively shut down its many notorious rogue operators, just as various politically-motivated and mercenary efforts to deregulate the clinical use  of stem cells in the US begin to gain steam…
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Update (Feb 28, 2012): I was poking around the internet doing research for a new post today when I stumbled across one of the links that was dead at the time of the writing of this post, and found it working perfectly, down to the live chat operator standing by. So I went back to the links list on the original post and found that  the Chinese military is still online, flogging stem cell treatments without evidence, as before (and indeed as it appears they were doing all along).