Why FCTC policies have not been implemented in China: domestic dynamics and tobacco governance

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Why FCTC policies have not been implemented in China: domestic dynamics and tobacco governance. J Health Polit Policy Law. 2014 Jun;39(3):633-66.


The international community, under the auspices of the World Health Organization, developed the landmark Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to curb the global tobacco epidemic. As an internationally binding convention about global best practices on tobacco control, the FCTC has become an overriding source of policy transfer for developing countries in the fight against smoking. However, since its ratification of the first global norm over tobacco governance and against the grim background of the widespread tobacco-induced public health devastation within its borders, China has failed to genuinely pursue FCTC policies because of domestic political and social factors. The empirical findings of this article point to the dominance of political-social dynamics for China's nontransfer of FCTC policies, arguing that the government's GDPism, its sovereignty-first mentality, and hostility to NGOs as well as widespread social acceptability of tobacco consumption and high smoking prevalence are fundamental causes of China's nontransfer of FCTC policies. The article explicates how these variables correspond to FCTC policies in an analytic framework of policy transfer.