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David Wertime

Chinese Hospital “Warmly Congratulates” Itself on Number of Sick People

From the department of massive PR failures comes this image, tweeted November 30 on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter, by a user with the handle “soy-sauce-plus-an-egg Ming” (let’s just call him Ming). It’s a congratulatory banner on the side of what Ming says is the People’s Hospital in Wuchuan, a county-level city in Guangdong province. Ming told a local newspaper that he encountered the unfortunate banner while visiting his sick mother on November 29. The banner reads:

“Warmly congratulate our hospital on breaking through [over] 40,000 hospitalized patients in 2012.”

It’s even a bit worse than it sounds, since “patient” in Chinese is written bingren, literally, “sick person.”

Less congratulations are due, perhaps, to the 40,000-plus sick people who no doubt would have preferred not to assist this hospital in reaching its lofty numbers. Web users were quick to ask: Wouldn’t it have been better to count 40,000 diseases prevented? Or at least, 40,000 patients safely discharged?

Ming told the local paper that seeing the banner made him “feel sad and discontent,” so he decided to snap a picture and post it on Weibo.

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David Wertime

David is the co-founder and co-editor of Tea Leaf Nation. He first encountered China as a Peace Corps Volunteer in 2001 and has lived and worked in Fuling, Chongqing, Beijing, and Hong Kong. He is a ChinaFile fellow at the Asia Society and an associate fellow at the Truman National Security Project.