Chinese student dies due to extreme poverty, malnutrition

The university student's death has sparked furious viral discussion on Chinese social media amid mounting suspicion that donated funds had been misappropriated.

Published: 15th January 2020 06:34 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th January 2020 10:23 PM   |  A+A-

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For representational purposes


BEIJING: A 24-year-old severely malnourished student who survived on less than a dollar a day for years to support her brother has died, according to media reports on Wednesday.

The plight of Wu Huayan who survived on 2 Yuan (USD 0.30) per day for years shocked China when pictures of the young woman, who weighed just over 20kg, emerged last year.

She was admitted to hospital with breathing problems in October 2019.

Donations flooded in to help her recovery, but her brother told reporters she had died on Monday, BBC reported on Wednesday.

Wu had told the Chongqing Morning Post that she turned to the media for help after watching her father and grandmother die because they had no money to pay for treatment.

"I don't want to experience that -- to wait for death because of poverty," she said.

Her brother told Beijing Youth Daily that Wu was just 24 when she died.

Doctors said last year that the third-year university student was suffering from heart and kidney problems as a result of five years spent eating minimal amounts of food.

A Chinese charity which raised over a million Yuan for Wu transferred only 20,000 yuan before her death to the hospital, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.

The 9958 Rescue Centre, a project of the China Charities Aid Foundation for Children (CCAFC), held up the funds because Wu needed heart surgery and the money was to be provided for her recovery, according to a statement from the CCAFC on Tuesday.

Wu's death comes at a time Chinese President Xi Jinping has stepped-up a campaign to eliminate poverty by this year.

According to official media reports, 740 million people have been lifted out of poverty from 1978 to 2017, roughly 19 million each year, which the ruling Communist Party asserts due to its effective governance.

In the last few years, China has focussed its poverty alleviation programme in far flung rural counties where millions of poor continue to live.

In his new year's speech this year, Xi reaffirmed his resolve to eradicate poverty in 2020.

He vowed to lift all rural residents living below the poverty line and eliminate poverty in all poor counties.

Around 340 poor counties across China will get rid

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