A national scandal erupted after his death. The Putian network has become the emblem of unhindered corruption within the private health system. Local authorities have particularly targeted one of its most egregious violations, namely operating clinics in other hospitals. This practice had been banned years ago, but many actors in the Putian network have continued to develop them.

In 2017, a court in Anhui Province stated that a hospital had violated local regulations by leasing several departments specializing in andrology and dermatology, among others, to a man from Putian which was finally forced to close. In the same year, local governments in Liaoning and Henan provinces announced a crackdown on the practice.

"Health care fraud in China is rather widespread," said Dr. Ma Jun, director of the Harbin Institute of Hematology. Oncology, a public hospital in northeastern China. "Private hospitals in China hide a lot of traps."

In October 2016, Chen Zhanghao paid $ 580 for nose surgery in the eastern city of Ningbo. that he believed to be a subsidiary of Tongren Hospital, a prestigious hospital company in Beijing, he had found the hospital affiliated with Putian in Baidu.

According to Mr. Chen, l The hospital of the time appeared on its website as a level 3 institution, the highest classification of the government.Later, Mr. Chen learned, through a request for access to information, that the hospital did not carry this designation and was not allowed to perform this type of operation, according to a copy of the government's response to its request, which was viewed by Times. ( The hospital has since removed the classification.)

Mr. Chen, 25, is now having difficulty re spire sometimes because his nose hurts or is congested, he said. He tried to search for the doctors who had treated him, but they left the hospital, which is now called Ningbo Yinzhou Tongren Hospital.

Mr. Chen has nightmares while thinking about his operation. "I do not want to think about it anymore," he says.