A Case of Privatization

Once upon a time, the government owned and operated everything in China.  Along comes the economic reform, and all of a sudden many state-owned organizations are told that they are responsible for their own bottom lines because the state will not continue to subsidize losses.  For the common people, one of the most significant impact is in terms of medical care.  Whereas such services used to be free, the citizens now have to put down a deposit before they can get treatment.  There are many tales of people being turned away by the hospital in spite of the fact that a medical emergency clearly exists.  For example, at last year's Lantern Festival, there was a crowd stampede in a park in suburban Beijing and dozens were in.  It was reported that the hospitals refused to treat the injured until deposits were paid, causing a near riot.

The following photo is a shocking example.  Wenxue City has the details: At 5pm, April 17, 2004, a 20-year-old worker Shi had an argument with her boyfriend when she attempted to break off their relationship, and he stabbed her in the back with a knife.  Her father immediately took her to the emergency ward at Xi'an Jiaotung University No. 2 Hospital.  However, he was unable to put down a 5,000 RMB deposit, and the hospital refused to give treatment.  The girl sat in the waiting room for more than 2 hours with the knife still buried in her back, before the police intervened and got the hospital to take action (see photo).