Summary of Who’s at Fault for China’s Precarious Doctor-Patient Relationship?

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Who’s at Fault for China’s Precarious Doctor-Patient Relationship? summary
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Doctor Chen Zhongwei died after a patient – unhappy with the treatment he had received from Dr. Chen years ago – stabbed him more than 30 times. Chen is only one of many doctors who suffered their unsatisfied patients’ wrath in the past few years. Doctors and patients should be on the same front fighting against diseases, but in China, they are fighting each other. The public sentiment over these tragedies has been striking: Nearly as many people sympathize with the killer as with the victim. This may be a consequence of China’s broken health care system, which has created self-interested doctors and exploited patients. Social commentator Feng Qingyang, publishing on, discusses the problems that led to the current state of the doctor-patient relationship and urges the government to take action. getAbstract recommends this summary to people interested in learning how health care works and doesn’t work in China.

About the Author

Feng Qingyang is a well-known social commentator, branding expert and blogger. He regularly contributes to, among other news media sites and business magazines, and runs a WeChat wemedia channel under his own name.



The doctor-patient relationship in China today is notoriously toxic. Violence in hospitals is so common that news of patients attacking or even killing their doctors no longer comes as a surprise. According to a study from the Chinese Hospital Association, an average 27 assaults on doctors happen in each hospital per year. Patients distrust doctors, guarding against unfair treatment, oppression and malpractice – while doctors fear for their lives. 

At least in part, increased commercialization of China’s medical field is to blame for the deteriorating relationship. After the government’s health care reforms, medical services have shifted from being a public good to being subject to market forces. As a result, some doctors now see patients as cash cows instead of human beings, and patients have developed a mind-set that if they spend the money, the doctors are obligated ...

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