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A southern city has become the first jurisdiction in China to enact legislation allowing a terminally ill patient to refuse “excessive life-saving treatment” and die with dignity and comfort.

The new law in Shenzhen in Guangdong Province, which comes into effect next January 1, follows a practice common in many countries, where those with incurable conditions and nearing the end of their lives have the right to decide how they die.

According to a revised draft of the city’s medical treatment regulation, which was passed last month, patients with terminal diseases or at the end of their lives can create advanced care directives, or living wills, that reject artificial life-support treatment such as tube feeding or cardiopulmonary resuscitation to prolong life.

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