China’s 21st century eunuchs

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China’s 21st century eunuchs

In China, if you are sick there are two places you can go for treatment. You can go to the free public hospitals, or to a private clinic. Unwilling to endure endless wait times, or seeking specialized treatment, many opt for the private option, finding results for private clinics in China’s internet search engine, Baidu. Little do these people know that these clinics are far less than reputable. Baidu makes no distinction on its search page between ads and neutral search results, making it far easier for a clinic to pay to promote its services and attract customers who have little knowledge of its reputation.

Once on the clinic’s site, many find themselves being greeted by a message from a friendly “doctor” asking them to describe their symptoms and recommending they come in for a check-up. Unfortunately for the patient, these are actually sales pitches, and these friendly people work on commission, being paid for the number of people they can convince to make an appointment.

Once at the clinic, the patient finds themselves being pushed hard to have surgery by a doctor who continuously warns them about the dangers of whichever ailment they find themselves afflicted with. In the case of one patient named Junjun, this was an enlarged prostate. Once at the hospital, the doctor informed him that the cause was his overly long foreskin, which was causing sperm to be backed up into his prostate. He recommended immediate surgery. Though Junjun was reluctant, his doctor’s insistence won him over and he submitted to the surgery. Afterward, he found himself suffering extreme pain and complete impotence. The doctor had severed an important nerve in his penis.

Soon, Junjun found that he was not the only one who had been victimized by the private clinic system. Everything about the system is designed to maximize profit, and thousands have fallen victim to sham surgeries and exorbitant pricing. As reported by Vice News, Shan Guotan, Chinese health pioneer had this to say:

There are tricks for scamming money, one is the so-called hospital guide. After you enter, someone follows you like a shadow, like a retail salesperson, constantly brainwashing and scaring you…denying you the opportunity for independent thought or time to consult friends and family.

In China, there are many men who have been rendered impotent by similar surgeries to Junjun, performed in spite of health or safety guidelines. There have been so many victims, permanently disfigured, that they have taken to calling themselves “21st century eunuchs,” harkening back to the Imperial Era when castrated men carried out the bureaucratic will of the Emperor.

So far, the Chinese government has done little to respond to this public health crisis. They began taking steps this month to investigate the search engine Baidu, through which many of these clinics advertise, after a college student died from receiving bogus cancer treatments for which he paid more than 30,000 dollars.

Hopefully, this step will be the first in taking effective action to provide more oversight of the public health system. But for the thousands of men turned into “eunuchs” by these criminally run private clinics, it will already be too late.

Wyatt is a writer and your friend. You can follow him on Twitter @WyattRedd.

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