Saturday, November 17, 2007

無償獻血 (Blood Donation Without Compensation)

I saw many people giving blood at a mobile blood center outside the Beijing Book Building in October. Mostly young people, it seemed. It warmed one's heart to see people making a sacrifice for others, without expecting compensation.

Wait a minute! Don’t people always donate blood without demanding or expecting a reward? In Hong Kong, Canada, USA, ... In fact, in most places in the world?

The fact that it was emphasized that the blood was to be donated without compensation implied that some people did sell their blood for a price. In 余华’s book 许三观卖血记, people sold their blood when they were desperate for money. Each time they could sell 400 cc of blood, about two bowls in volume, for about 35 reminbi. Each time, before they sold their blood, they would drink as many bowls of water as they could, often directly from the river, to help them with the blood giving. The book was written in 1995, before the scorch of AIDS hit China. The picture that it painted of blood selling was not a very bleak one. It could even be said to be somewhat romantic. Selling his blood helped 许三观 through several crises in his life. The novel was very influential, and highly recommended. The book was, of course, a novel. But in realty, many people did sell their blood for a price.

Later on, the reality turned bleaker and bleaker. And HIV transmission was strongly linked to illegal blood selling. According to the web site, Vice Minister Yin Dakui reported in 2001 that "about 30,000 to 50,000 people have contracted HIV through blood selling". In this context, Blood donation without compensation became especially poignant. Hopefully, as more people give blood without compensation, illegal selling of blood can be reduced and even totally eliminated.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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