Giving a red envelope with money in it before surgery is believed by Chinese to help ensure the doctor will do a good job. It sort of a messy combination of the traditional Chinese gift-giving culture, and the more degenerate bribing culture.
The Chinese government is asking all hospitals level two and above to “sign an agreement with their inpatients within 24 hours of admission, in which both parties should agree that they will not give or accept ‘red envelopes’ or luxury gifts,” reported Want China Times. Recently, hospitals have been the core of many angry attacks and protests. Medical expenses are often too expensive for poor Chinese, and they are even turned away from emergency surgery without the correct payment.
Bribing, or giving red envelopes out of “gratitude and respect” for a good doctor has been creating an unfair system of care, and a system poor people can’t afford to keep up with.