By Erik Crouch.
Image credit: @dgjones10.
When not buying villas with public funds or spending $1,500 on lunch, China’s Red Cross actually does perform public-health-related tasks, but only in the most
massively corrupt financially questionable way possible. Meet the Beijing Red Cross emergency air rescue service: 100,000 yuan for a flight to hospital, all paid in advance.
Since its launch last year, the Beijing Red Cross’ air service (known as 999, its phone number) has only aided two people, both of whom possessed fancy (American and Swedish) insurance to cover the transport. If this is bad news for the Beijing Red Cross, they aren’t letting it show. Their website reads:
“999” established the first center applying motorcycle, fixed wing aircraft and helicopter to emergency rescue services, playing the function of emergency rescue and transport within and among cities with the real three-dimensional rescue system […] “999” will go on to carry forward the Red Cross spirit of humanity, fraternity, dedication, and contribute to Beijing emergency rescue career all the time!
Humanity, fraternity, and dedication are surely easier to give to those paying almost double the average Beijing annual income for one helicopter ride. Fortunately for China’s Red Cross, its history of corruption is so prolific that “hyper-expensive luxury air service” barely stands out.