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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Blood worth bottling (3)

By Li Ying (Global Times)

10:31, January 10, 2012

Blood brothers and sisters

Beijing's health authority launched a blood donation drive in 2007 to boost supplies ahead of the Olympics. Rh-negative was earmarked as one of the most in-demand blood types, given only three out of every 10,000 Han people have "panda blood."

"Because of the scarcity of Rh-negative blood, people with it are disadvantaged compared to people with more common blood types in emergency medical situations when a transfusion is needed," Lin told the Global Times.

Lin, himself an Rh-negative blood carrier, discovered he was part of the exclusive club in 2002 when he was donating blood in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. He founded an online support group using popular chat software QQ under the aim of gathering people with panda blood to share their experiences and help each other.

The group made a life-saving difference in 2005 when 28-year-old Beijing taxi driver Ma Yongquan was stabbed in the leg by a thief. Ma was diagnosed in hospital with leucocythemia, a cancer characterized by the rapid growth of abnormal white blood cells. Ma's blood type, Rh AB-negative, left him with little hope of finding a desperately-needed blood transfusion.

Upon hearing the news, Lin contacted group members only to find none of the Beijing-based members carried the extremely rare blood type. Fortunately, a person with the blood type from Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, was on a business trip to Beijing and his blood donation saved Ma's life.

Nevertheless, Lin said he had encountered traps from people looking to harvest "panda blood" for the black market. "Fraudsters sometimes appeal to those in need of Rh-negative blood to give money for a transfusion, only to disappear," he said. For this reason, no personal details are revealed to Web users who visit Lin's online support group.

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