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Doctor Sued in China

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Published: 11.14.2017
Level 5   |   Time: 2:17
Accent: British
BBC Global News Podcast (11.08.2017)

A doctor was sued in China after he warned a man that smoking was bad for his health.

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triangle Directions


  1. REVIEW the vocabulary.
  2. LISTEN to the audio.
  3. ANSWER the questions.
  4. CHECK your answers (Show Answers)

triangle Vocabulary


  • provoke [v] - cause
  • compensation [n] - something (usually money) given to someone to pay back some loss
  • a lift [n] - an elevator
  • sue [v] - a legal process demanding money for some harm or loss
  • a contributing factor [n] - one of many factors
  • a huge uproar [n] - a big outrage or anger
  • Weibo [n] - a Chinese social media site
  • a call [n] - a demand
  • instigate [v] - start
  • It's about time. [exp] - Something should start now.
  • a good Samaritan [n] - a person who helps other people, especially strangers, when they have trouble
  • high-profile cases [n] - famous legal court cases
  • implicate [v] - show to be involved in a crime

[n] - noun,  [v] - verb,  [exp] - expression


triangle Questions


  1. Who was told to pay compensation?
    a doctor
    an elderly man
    an elderly man's family

  2. Where did the incident take place?
    in a hospital
    on a lift
    on the street

  3. When did the incident take place?
    in May
    in the morning
    on Monday

  4. What was the elderly man doing in the lift?
    working
    sleeping
    smoking

  5. What did the doctor do?
    He told the man to stop smoking.
    He offered the man a cigarette.
    He took away the man's cigarettes.

  6. What happened to the elderly man?
    He sued the doctor.
    He died soon after the incident.
    He attacked the doctor.

  7. How did the elderly man's family react?
    They thanked the doctor.
    They apologized to the doctor.
    They sued the doctor.

  8. How much money did the doctor have to pay to the family?
    $200
    $2000
    $2 000 000

  9. How much money did the family ask for?
    $200
    $2000
    $2 000 000

  10. What has been the reaction on Chinese social media?
    People are angry at the doctor.
    People are angry at the family.
    People want to be able to smoke in more public places.

  11. What did Beijing do in 2015?
    It made a law protecting good Samaritans.
    It made a law prohibiting smoking indoors.
    It made a law prohibiting smoking in lifts.

  12. According to the woman, in which inappropriate places does smoking often occur?
    in schools
    in bars
    in hospitals
    in parks

  13. Why do people not want to get involved and help people who get into accidents or fights in China?
    They can be sued.
    They are often rewarded.
    They are put in jail.

  14. What law did China enact in 2013?
    It made a law protecting good Samaritans.
    It made a law prohibiting smoking indoors.
    It made a law prohibiting smoking in lifts.


triangle Script



A court decision in China has provoked anger on social media because a doctor has been told he needs to pay compensation for the death of an elderly man. But the incident didn't take place in a hospital or during surgery. Instead, the man died soon after meeting the doctor in a lift. Kerry Allan from BBC Monitoring explains the story.

This actually happened back in May. There was a doctor who entered a lift with an elderly man, and the elderly man was smoking in the lift, and the doctor said you shouldn't be doing that is bad for your health. And shortly after, the elderly man died of a heart attack. So his family sued the man and the court case has been going on till this week. And the doctor has been ordered to pay some compensation about - two thousand dollars to the elderly man's family. They say that it contributed towards the stress of the man dying. The family originally requested about two million U.S. dollars, but the court ruled that about 2000 dollars would be best because they said it was a contributing factor.

And I understand this has caused a huge uproar on Chinese social media.

Yes. Over the last few days, there's been thousands of comments on Weibo and a lot of angry reaction from people saying how is the doctor to blame for this. People shouldn't be smoking in lifts. There's actually, over the last year, there's been a large call three state media to instigate a national smoking indoors ban. Beijing instigated one back in 2015. People were saying it's about time because over the last few years, you've actually had people smoking in schools, in hospitals, literally in front of children and patients. And Chinese people have been quite angry about this.

This idea that a good Samaritan like like this doctor could be sued. Is that something that happens quite often in China?

It does actually. There is a culture in China that if somebody sees an accident or somebody sees maybe two people fighting for example, they dont want to get involved because theres been so many high profile cases in the past in China where the person who rushes in to help has actually then been implicated in the case and has been sued. And in 2013, China did instigate a good-Samaritan law to try and help people and to try and encourage people that if they do involve themselves in an incident, they're going to find they're going to have some legal protection.

Kerry Allen of BBC monitoring.