When we think about China, we often visualise well-dressed healthy people walking in brightly lit streets, Beijing’s historical sites with modern architecture and skyscraper-studded Shanghai. But the story of this 24-year-old Chinese woman will highlight the grave reality that China is struggling with.
Wu Huayan, the young student from China was hospitalised earlier this month after she complained of breathing problem. The doctors later diagnosed her with a heart and kidney disorder associated with low intake of nutritious food. Wu Huayan who was only 135cm (4ft 5ins) tall and weighed barely more than 20kg was apparently on rice and chilly diet, trying to save any money that she had for her younger brother ailing from a mental illness. She has been severely malnutritioned.
Her mother died when she was four and her father died when she was 18, leaving her to be the sole carer of her younger brother who is mentally ill.
After they lost their parents at an early age, the siblings from China’s Guizhou were supported by their grandmother, and later by an uncle and aunt who could give them $42 (Rs. 2,900 each) every month.
Since the past five years, Wu Huayan has been eating minimal amounts of food to save money for her education and to support her sick brother. Wu Huayan barely spends $0.30 (Rs 21) a day and consumes mostly rice and chillies.
After entering college, Ms Wu took a student loan and worked two part-time jobs in order to improve her financial situation.
But after their heartbreaking story made headlines, scores of people came in to support them. Within a couple of weeks, donations started pouring in totalling to some $114,000 (Rs. 80.8 lakhs approx.) from various crowdfunding platforms and her well-wishers alike.
On one side, China recently celebrated its 70th anniversary of the Communist rule with much pomp and enthusiasm and on the other people like Wu Huayan struggle to get a two-course meal. What an irony!