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Published on : Nov 18, 2015

Affordable and effective healthcare in China is attracting a flood of Russians for the treatment of a variety of conditions. These days, every other patient in the Northeast Asia Hospital in the Chinese city of Hunchun is a Russian. The small Chinese city has 49 hospitals, much more than the typical average in other Chinese cities of this size, and the city is catering effectively to patients that come from many Lake Baikal, Vladivostok, and many other cities in the far east of Russia.

Lev Ruvinchik, a 75 year old Russian travelled to the city via train, a 23 hour journey, and then by a bus, an additional four hour journey, to seek care for knee arthritis. He noted that the healthcare facilities and service has been efficient in Hunchun.

Tour guides take groups of Russians from remote regions in the country to Hunchun many times a month. The facilities provided by hospitals in Hunchun cover many specialties. Older Russian women also come to the city as plastic surgery is very affordable in China.

The city of Hunchun, which is located on a small land along the borders of both Russia and North Korea, has a population of only 200,000 people. With this size, it is very unusual for a Chinese city to have so many healthcare facilities. However, looking at the traction the healthcare services in this city are gaining from Russian visitors, it can seem quite normal.

Russia has universal medical care facilities, but the healthcare system is known to be bureaucratic and patients often have to wait for a long time, says Kou Hanqian, a Chinese government official who handles the foreign tourism department of the city. He also added that specialized care is also very expensive in Russia, making China a preferred healthcare destination for many Russians.

A new bullet train to Hunchun, which connects the city to China’s high-speed rail network, has also opened only last month. If this line is extended to places like Vladivostok in Russia, more Russian patients will come to China.