A respected Shanghai maternity hospital built on land owned by the military has been ordered to close by authorities.
The Shanghai Redleaf International Women’s and Children’s Hospital is one of the city’s top maternity hospitals, serving wealthy Chinese and foreign patients. Opened four years ago by Canadian investors, the hospital signed a 20-year lease on a plot of land in downtown Shanghai along Huaihai Road. Land that is owned by the military.
That has turned out to be a problem. Last Thursday, Redleaf sent a letter to its clients informing them that “due to policy reasons and government requirement” the hospital reluctantly “has to move accordingly” after receiving a notice of termination from the Xuhui District Health and Family Planning Commission.
“Such great change has left us no choice. However, we have to stick to providing our high medical standards to our clients. We will take the responsibilities,” the letter said.
For the time being, Redleaf plans to move its services to several separate locations in Xuhui District, that relocation is currently ongoing. Yesterday, the hospital posted an announcement on its website about the transition, saying that it has “received the relevant government licenses and permits for maternal and infant health care” at its new facilities and apologizing for the “unexpected relocation.”
Back on Thursday, some staff at Redleaf responded to the relocation news by hanging up red banners outside the hospital’s main building which criticized the local government for forcing them to move.
In response, the Xuhui District Health and Family Planning Commission published a notice reprimanding those who had expressed their “extreme opinions” and had thus caused “negative impacts on the society.”
The notice went on to explain that the Armed Police Corps in Shanghai had terminated the land agreement with Redleaf, making the hospital an “illegal construction.” The notice also added that “no practice of medicine is allowed” at the location by September 4th, 2017.
According to the notice, the agreement between the hospital and the military was terminated in pursuance of the “Notice on Total Termination of Paid Services Provided by the Military Forces and the Armed Police” — an anti-corruption campaign which was launched last year, cracking down on the People’s Liberation Army’s money-making enterprises and deals. Under Chinese law, the PLA is banned from any commercial activities. As part of the crackdown, the military has been instructed to let any existing contracts expire.
Of course, this whole thing doesn’t seem very fair to the workers and owners of Redleaf. “We spent a lot of money and work building this, and now the government wants us to move,” one nurse told HKFP. “We didn’t do anything bad.”
[Images via Redleaf International Women’s and Children’s Hospital]
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