Do­na­tions for sick girl to be re­turned af­ter out­cry

Pa­tient’s fa­ther owns an apart­ment in Shen­zhen as well as two ad­di­tional prop­er­ties in Dong­guan

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By TANG YUE tangyue@chi­nadaily.com.cn

More than 2.6 mil­lion yuan ($380,000) raised on­line by a fa­ther for his se­ri­ously ill daugh­ter will be re­turned to the donors fol­low­ing pub­lic out­cry over his al­leged lack of hon­esty about the fam­ily’s eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion, ac­cord­ing to a joint state­ment on Thurs­day.

Luo Yix­iao, 5, from Shen­zhen, Guang­dong prov­ince, was di­ag­nosed with acute lym­pho­cytic leukemia in Septem­ber and her con­di­tion wors­ened ear­lier this month.

Her fa­ther, Luo Er, posted a heart-wrench­ing story about his daugh­ter on WeChat on Fri­day last week, ask­ing for fi­nan­cial help. The post went vi­ral and more than 110,000 peo­ple had do­nated 2.53 mil­lion yuan ($367,000) as of Wed­nes­day.

Luo Er, a mag­a­zine ed­i­tor, also agreed to Liu Xi­afeng, a for­mer col­league and founder of Xiao­ton­gren, a mar­ket­ing com­pany spe­cial­iz­ing in in­ter­net fi­nance, post­ing his daugh­ter’s story on the com­pany’s WeChat ac­count on Sun­day.

Read­ers of the Xiao­ton­gren post had also do­nated more than 110,000 yuan as of Wed­nes­day.

How­ever, it was re­ported on Wed­nes­day that Luo Er owns an apart­ment in Shen­zhen and two more prop­er­ties in neigh­bor­ing city Dong­guan, which was not men­tioned in his plea for help.

Luo Er con­firmed the re­ports, but told lo­cal me­dia that the two apart­ments in Dong­guan can­not be sold at present due to a prop­er­tyrights is­sue.

The re­ports led to wide­spread doubt over his claimed in­abil­ity to fi­nance his daugh- ter’s med­i­cal ex­penses, with many ne­ti­zens say­ing their kind­ness had been taken ad­van­tage of.

Ac­cord­ing to a joint state­ment by Luo Er, Liu, WeChat and Shen­zhen Civil Af­fairs Bureau, all do­na­tions will be re­turned to the donors.

Ac­cord­ing to a state­ment on Wed­nes­day by Shen­zhen Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal, where Luo Yix­iao is hos­pi­tal­ized, the girl’s to­tal med­i­cal fees since Septem­ber have reached about 200,000 yuan, with her fam­ily need­ing to pay about 36,000 yuan and in­sur­ance cov­er­ing more than 80 per­cent of the cost.

The girl is in “crit­i­cal con­di­tion” at the mo­ment, and the hos­pi­tal is work­ing with doc­tors from Toronto’s Hos­pi­tal for Sick Chil­dren on her ther­a­peu­tic sched­ule, the state­ment said.

Liu ini­tially promised that his com­pany would do­nate 1 yuan for each re­post, up to a to­tal of 500,000 yuan. The num­ber of re­posts sur­passed 500,000.

The com­pany was ac­cused by ne­ti­zens of em­ploy­ing the post­ing of the story as a mar­ket­ing tool.

The joint state­ment did not state how do­na­tions re­ceived by the com­pany would be dealt with.

In an ear­lier state­ment by Luo Er and Liu on Thurs­day, they had pledged to use the do­na­tions to es­tab­lish a foun­da­tion to help chil­dren with leukemia, given donors’ per­mis­sion, adding that they would ap­ply for fi­nan­cial aid for Luo Yix­iao’s treat­ment ac­cord­ing to reg­u­la­tions.

Le­gal ex­perts said it is le­gal to raise money for a fam­ily mem­ber in dif­fi­culty, but added that donors have a right to What they say

Luo Yix­iao re­ceives treat­ment at Shen­zhen Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal in Guang­dong prov­ince on Tues­day. Her fa­ther, Luo Er, re­sponds to ques­tions at the hos­pi­tal on Wed­nes­day. “Dis­ease alone is not a suf­fi­cient rea­son to call on the pub­lic for do­na­tions. Dis­ease and poverty is dif­fer­ent. When an in­di­vid­ual seeks fi­nan­cial help, they should not only men­tion the dis­ease, but also their fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion.” Jin Jin­ping, “I think that if peo­ple re­ally want to help some­one, there are many ways to do so other than do­nat­ing money through WeChat. The story of Luo Yix­iao tells us that we should take more time over de­cid­ing whether to help oth­ers.” Zou Wen­zhang,

as­so­ci­atelaw pro­fes­so­ratPek­ingUniver­sity ask for their money to be re­turned if im­por­tant facts are “in­ten­tion­ally con­cealed”.

Ac­cord­ing to data from the Chi­nese Red Cross Foun­da­tion, about 20,000 chil­dren in China are di­ag­nosed with leu-

stu­den­tat HuazhongUniver­si­tyof Science­andTech­nol­o­gyin Wuhan,Hubeiprovince

“As a fa­ther, I can imag­ine how much he is suf­fer­ing. But it is dis­grace­ful for him to ask for money in this way and it has rid me of my com­pas­sion, es­pe­cially as a com­pany is in­volved.” Wang Shuyi,

Tian­jin ac­coun­tantin kemia each year, while the an­nual in­come of three-quar­ters of the fam­i­lies in­volved is less than 30,000 yuan.

Zhou Mo in Shen­zhen con­trib­uted to this story.

CHENG JIANG / FOR CHINA DAILY HUO JIANBIN / FOR CHINA DAILY

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