IntlSOS 30 Years - From East to West - Page 51



03 Beijing and Beyond | Beijing Red Cross Joint Venture
Major Milestone
Beijing Red Cross Joint Venture:
A Vital Step in China
When permission was granted to open the
Representative Office in 1989 the agreed vision
was that a clinic would ultimately be set up with
the Red Cross.
In China the Red Cross is closely linked to the
government. Today, the Honorary President of the
National Red Cross is Mr Xi Jinping, the President
of China; the President of the Beijing Red Cross
is the Vice Mayor of Beijing, and the Honorary
President is the City Mayor.
Once more, developing the right relationships of
trust and credibility was vital. As part of this process
Arnaud and Sandy hosted members of the Red Cross
on a fact-finding visit to our base in Singapore where
we were able to demonstrate our service offering.
This was followed by a visit to Paris of Mr Bai Jai Fu
(the Chairman of the Beijing Red Cross and former
Vice Mayor of Beijing) who had requested to see for
himself the French emergency system; Pascal had
mentioned this to him several times.
The timing was not ideal as, following events in
Tiananmen Square, France had cancelled all visits of
Chinese officials. However, the Mayor of Paris,
Jacques Chirac, was supportive and, with the help of
his old medical colleagues, Pascal managed to show
the Chairman facilities within the French emergency
system. This culminated in a ride across Paris in an
emergency ambulance and an official welcoming
ceremony at Paris City Hall by invitation of M. Chirac.
A joint venture was agreed with the Beijing Red
Cross in August 1993 and the clinic officially
opened on 1 January 1995. The agreement
Left: John Williams giving a speech after
he was selected to be the Honorary
Member of the Board of Directors, Beijing
Red Cross Society, in Beijing, June 2004.
was a vital step in establishing our presence in
China and being able to provide an enhanced
service. In China the Red Cross is funded only partly
by public donations so, as part of our agreement,
we committed to make an annual donation to the
Beijing Red Cross.
Our relationship with the Red Cross strengthened
and on 27 August 2002 we jointly launched a ‘999’
emergency ambulance and response service. We
were now able to offer access to immediate medical
help through an Emergency Response Centre,
supported by 100 dedicated ambulances and a
hospital and trauma unit. When foreigners called
they were transferred to our Assistance Centre and
we managed the case; the Red Cross dealt with
cases involving nationals. As well as having general
access to the ambulance fleet we had one
ambulance dedicated to the Beijing clinic. John
Williams, at the time Managing Director for China
said: “This partnership brings our respective
services together so we can deliver an unmatched
medical service to the citizens of Beijing and its
international visitors.”
This relationship continued to grow, leading to our
joint activities in support of the 2008 Olympic Games
which was another Major Milestone for the company.
On 7 July 2008 we signed an agreement for a
further 15-year cooperation with the Beijing Red
Cross and our relationship continues to flourish.
Subsequently the 999 service has further expanded
its delivery platform by offering helicopter transfers
in and around Beijing; it took possession of its very
first owned helicopter in October 2014.
43

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