Plight of malnourished worker surviving on 20p a day prompts outcry in China


Wu Huayana Chinese woman who starved herself to the brink of death while trying to support her sick brother on poverty wages has prompted an outcry in China.

She lived on two yuan (20p) a day for five years, allowing herself to eat only a bun or portion of rice a day while working two jobs and studying at university.

Her parents died several years ago, leaving her to care for her brother, who requires mental health treatment.

The state of Guizhou gives her 300 yuan (£32) a month, plus a student’s job gives her an additional 600 yuan(£65) more most of which went towards her brother’s care.

Ms Wu’s desperate situation came to light when she was taken to hospital with severe malnutrition. Aged 24, she was just 1.35m tall and weighed only 21.5kg, according to state newspaper People’s Daily.

She has damaged her heart and been left with symptoms including hair loss, ringing ears and insomnia.

She is also unable to walk properly and to afford medical treatment for herself.

The case sparked outrage on Chinese social media, prompting a flood of donations totalling 470,000 yuan (£51,500).

The controversy attracted government attention, and officials announced the siblings would receive a 20,000 yuan (£2,100) emergency package, according to the BBC.

“We will keep following the case of this strong-minded and kind girl,” a spokesperson for the Tongren City Civil Affairs Bureau said.

Ms Wu’s teachers and peers donated an additional 40,000 yuan (£4,300), while residents of Guizhou raised around 30,000 yuan (£3,200).

People’s Daily noted that such stories of poverty were common in rural China.

Several people on social media also criticised the country’s government for failing to help the siblings earlier.

Guizhou is one of the poorest provinces in China. (Source: Independent UK)