Well-being in China
Science for Global Well-Being
The Goal of Sustainable Development in Well-being
"Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." This basic definition of the World Health Organization (WHO) was adopted in 1948 by all members of the United Nations and has been the guideline of health workers all over the world ever since.
The People's Republic of China has achieved spectacular progress in fostering the well-being of it's citizens in the last 55 years. The basics of well-being, access to sufficient nutrition, participation in transport, information and medical infrastructures and to schooling has been achieved for the vast majority of all Chinese. Life expectancy has grown from below 50 years to above 70 years. Whereas in the 1950s less than 80 out of 100 children would reach the age of five, now 96 out of 100 children can celebrate their fifth birthday. Illiteracy has been reduced to below 20% in a country where reading and writing abilities were traditionally restricted to the upper classes.
The Human Development Index of the UNDP gives China a middle-ranking place with an index of 0,72, well above the 0,49 of even 1970.
In the 21st century well-being for many Chinese men and women especially in the big cities is therefore no more a question of survival but a question of achieving a high quality of life, of enjoying oneself and caring for one's own body and mind. Modern science helps protecting and enhancing the quality of the outward appearance and inner strength of the body. Users of cosmetic products are not always aware of the intense research which is necessary to improve this aspect of well-being. Global companies like L'Oréal employ thousands of scientists around the world to translate the achievements of scientific research into new products for their customers. For a big country like China of course special products are developed which take into the account the differences in the physics of East Asian people compared to f.i. Europeans.
Companies like L'Oréal see Well-being in a context of global sustainable development. The company is dedicated to serving all expressions of beauty and well-being, which it seeks to make accessible to women and men all over the world. Their cosmetic products enable everyone to feel at ease with their body, to express their beauty, to assert their identity and to express their creativity. In that respect, they serve human beings in all that is most profoundly human.
In this way, it is also easy to understand the necessity to strengthen the contribution of all parts of the world and of men and women alike for scientific progress. That's why L'Oréal since 1998 has financed the L'Oréal-UNESCO "Women in Science" Award. In the last round in 2003 one of five lady-scientists which were awarded 100,000 US$ each was Li Fanghua, a researcher at the Institute of Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.
Supporting Well-being of it's citizens is one of the major tasks of any government. Deng Xiaoping introduced the concept of "xiaokang" (Well-being) as one of the major goals of the modernization of China in 1979. In 2002, the 16th party Congress of the CCP again confirmed this goal and named economic and scientific progress as instruments for improvements in "xiaokang".
Supporting the image of Science as the major driving force behind Well-being products of a global company like L'Oréal helps to show to consumers and political leaders alike that it's products are not a frivolous luxury which drains consumers buying-power for more "important" goods and takes away their concentration on strengthening the society. On the opposite, Well-being is not only good for the quality of life of the citizens, Well-being - being happy with your situation, your body, your health - also supports the productive and creative performance of workforces, managers, artists and all parts of the society. Scientific research guarantees the quality and effectiveness of L'Oréal products, making also understandable the sometimes elevated price for this products compared to simpler, less scientifically proven competing products.