China is a contradictory country. This begins with the capitalist economy in the officially socialist people’s Republic of unrestrained appearance than in most Western countries. It continues in an everyday life that is often not universalistic rules, but particularistic relationships on access to resources and life chances to decide. In business and politics, but also in the fields of education or health care Items and resources are, in some cases even for basic services only through personal relationships. The maintenance of these relations, “guanxi”, are therefore of high importance. It applies as a moral obligation.

The ubiquity of networks is often presented as an expression of cultural particularities. In fact, it has a long Tradition. However, the example of the relationship between patients and Doctors at public hospitals in two Chinese sociologists show that it will also depend on current developments, and in particular, whether the interaction between a Profession and your client has a basis of trust.

The desire for preference in the red envelope

A reference to the fact that in Chinese hospitals, not only diseases cured, but also relationships to be maintained, an Initiative of the Ministry of health: In 2014, the proposal came from there, all the hospital patients and their Doctors should sign an agreement that they take from the exchange “red envelopes” (“hongbao”). The money-filled red envelopes are handed over festival in China on many occasions, for example at the new year. Not only among Relatives and friends, but also between business partners and Acquaintances, it is usual, with this money, the connectedness of gifts to witness.

Also in hospitals, a survey conducted by the authors shows in the cities of Beijing and Shanghai, it is common practice for them: 31% of the respondents confirmed that they or their family members had presented in the last few years, a doctor a red envelope – we went to surgery, there were even over 50 percent. In connection with a visit to the doctor, so one can assume, are associated such gifts with the hope to be better or, preferably, treated.

There are two forms in which gifts of Money come into play: first, you can be accompanied by used, if there is already a direct or via a third party and mediated personal relationship exists. The red envelope alternatively by a non-monetary gift will be rewarded in this case the special attention it receives due to the personal recommendation. Secondly, you can be in the absence of an existing relationship is used to push the doctor a debt of gratitude: he accepted the gift, which in this case is almost always a gift of Money, he confirms the expectation of preferential treatment.

a lack of trust in the motives of the Doctors

there were The Interviews with Doctors and patients, the Initiative lies mostly with the patients. Doctors complain about their comparatively low wages, however, depend in no way on the extra financial sources. Also, the Chinese law punishes the receiver of the bribe payments is harder than captivating. But what is the patient motivated to be proactive and to make gratuitous payments?