Wei Zexi, a 21-year old Chinese college student from Shaanxi, died in 2016 after receiving inappropriate experimental treatment. Others have died too as a result of medical negligence. The common theme in these cases is that the victims were treated in private hospitals connected in some way to Putian, a city in southeast China's Fujian Province. Wei's case has raised public awareness of Putian's quacks. But the problems of private hospitals have still not been fully addressed. Countless private hospitals which claim to specialize in the treatment of male diseases continue to entrap male patients.
In the past, doctors based in Putian amassed personal fortunes through illegal online advertisement, and conducting illegitimate medical practices. Over the past 30 years, many have come together to form medical companies, but the reality of the treatments they offer remain the same, their medical practices resembling sinister plots against their patients.
China is still struggling to adequately reform its medical system, with the public medical and healthcare system unable to meet growing demand. Private hospitals should represent an important supplement to the public medical system, but they fail to provide a safe and creditable alternative, as the cases of medical negligence and fraud continue to surface.
At the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, President Xi Jinping made clear in his report that the principal contradiction facing Chinese society is that between unbalanced and inadequate development, and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life. To meet the expectations of the people, it is crucial that the government should address the fundamental problems related to social governance. Medical reform is an important aspect of this work.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in China Newsweek on November 27)