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24-year-old malnourished girl died

By Zhang Zhouxiang | | Updated: 2020-01-17 10:24

Wu Huayan, a 24-year-old malnourished girl from Guizhou province who received wide public attention when it was pointed out that she was just 135 centimeters tall and weighed 21.5 kilograms last year, died on Monday.

Her mother had died when she was just four and her father died when she was 18, leaving her with a younger brother. The family was so poor that Wu saved every penny in college; reports said her common meals were rice, salt and pepper.

Donations began pouring in after her malnourished form was reported last October. But by then it was too late. She was too underweight to undergo a life-saving surgery for a heart problem, which is reported to have much to do with her malnutrition.

Wu's case underlines the importance of the ongoing anti-poverty drive and prompts us to pitch in with a missionary zeal to root out poverty. Besides, it also highlights the need to regulate the functioning of the charity industry.

As soon as Wu's case was reported, a charity team called 9958 came to her aid, calling for donations on more than one platforms. However, reports say, they did not communicate properly with Wu in time and Wu's family got to know the donation later than it was launched.

If the 9958 deeds is only improper action and procedure, the following action done by another might be quite bad. An account called "Listen to news" who sought donations for Wu over short-video sharing app Douyin, claimed to have got 450,000 yuan ($65,301) as donation to Wu.

But Wu and her family say they never received it, highlighting the need for regulation of the charity industry. After all not all donors are super rich and when they see their money does not reach the needy, they might refuse to donate the next time.

Besides, the account is reported to have falsely claimed that Wu had got no help at all before the report, while actually she had. According to an interview of Wu, she said that her teacher and her college helped her much, and wrote a letter to them saying she had never claimed "no help".

Besides, such cheating harms those who need help, too. Some unofficial charity teams, such as the one on Douyin, are good at highlighting or even hyping up the tragic tales of those who need help. But once exposed, donors might not like to pitch in the next time someone genuinely asks for help on the medium.

Wu's death should serve as a wake-up call to ensure regulation so that every donated penny reaches where it is needed.

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