We all have our own ideas about what charity is and how to make it happen. Charity on the Chinese mainland takes place within the context of socialist class ideologies, Chinese Buddhism, newly resurrected pre-revolutionary civic structures, Chinese-style non-governmental organizations, and emerging Western-influenced philanthropy.
In the last few years, bloggers have also voiced social justice issues, such as the “BMW case” or the kitten crusher. I don’t know how common it is for bloggers to call attention to specific individuals, but such a story of blogger-driven charity — and the power of blog and BBS aggregator sites — unfolded on Chinese BBS and blog aggregator Daqi.com’sOutstanding Blogs page.
Li Guozhong, a Hunan professional photographer, was touring rural villages a few days ago with 3 colleagues when he was introduced to a dying 12 year girl with septicaemia, a potentially life-threatening infection in which large amounts of bacteria are present in the blood. Li snapped a few striking shots of her condition and posted them on Chinaphotocenter.com with an appeal to “save a dying 12 year old girl.” According to Li’s post, the girl’s poor rural family had only enough money for 10 days of treament at a local hospital in the fall of 2005. When this failed to cure the blood poisoning, the skin of her leg began to rot away — and somehow her shinbone broke through the rotting skin.
There the post and photos were seen by a Daqi blog editor. Within 2 hours he had a Daqi blog opened for Li Guozhong
and prominently placed on the main page for publicity. You can see the
photos and initial post here. The post and photos captured the hearts of readers and started bulleting around the portals and BBS’s. According to the account of reporter and Daqi executive Jiang Ziwei,
[The afternoon of May 25] we gave him the main page of Daqi. These
kinds of stories are not uncommon. I thought that was pretty much the
most we could do…at 11:40 pm I suddenly got an MSN message telling me
that Li Guozhong had just put up a new post saying that under the care
of a local municipal party committee and municipal government, the girl
had been saved!…I realized that in only 10 hours, the situation had
taken a turn for the better…In those 10 hours, who knows how many
people online and offline had run around taking care of this
situation. Everyone should now recognize the value of Daqi Outstanding
Blogs insisting on bloggers using their real names.
In a case where the state has so clearly failed its rural citizens, the voice of an individual
blogger brought light and heat and very quickly, some kind of resolution.
Link to Li Guozhong’s post on going back to the village with municipal party and government officials.