Author repeats his call for euthanasia

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 July, 2007, 12:00am

Quadriplegic Tang Siu-pun urged the government to review the issue of euthanasia at a seminar at the Hong Kong Book Fair yesterday.

'Introducing euthanasia does not mean we do not respect life,' Mr Tang, who is better known as Ah Bun, told about 400 people at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

'The value of a person's life should be judged by that person, not by others. Some argue that once a person chooses euthanasia, there is no turning back. But I think one should take responsibility for every action he or she takes,' he said.

Ah Bun, 37, also called on lawmakers to discuss euthanasia in the Legislative Council and study public opinion.

'The sooner society has a discussion about this topic, the sooner desperate patients can enjoy one more choice,' he said.

'But I am not giving up myself, I must stress. But if there is a choice of euthanasia, it means that I have one more choice to choose from.'

Hospital Authority chairman Antony Wu Ting-yuk said there was a need to discuss the issue as there was no consensus in society.

'If the recovery rate of a patient is almost zero, the patient should have the right to choose' euthanasia, Mr Wu said.

Ah Bun earlier toured the book fair to check sales of his first book, I Want Euthanasia.

'It is very meaningful for me to publish this book,' he said. 'It seems that the book has aroused awareness about euthanasia, and the impact is much greater than expected.'

Mr Tang's 300-page book chronicles his life as a young sportsman, the somersault accident that put him in a hospital bed for 13 years and his 2003 plea to former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa to be allowed to die. He became an instant celebrity when his letter to Mr Tung was made public.

He has a specially designed automatic wheelchair that lets him leave Queen Mary Hospital on occasion.