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Teenager set on fire to get free care

By Shi Yingying and Wang Qingyun (China Daily)

08:15, March 07, 2012

Zhou Yan, a 17-year-old girl whose face and body were burned when a classmate splashed burning lighter fluid on her in September in Anhui province, arrives at a plastic surgery hospital in Beijing on Monday. (Li Muyi / for China Daily)

Zhou Yan, the 17-year-old who suffered horrific burns on her face and body when she was splashed with lighter fluid and set on fire in Hefei, Anhui province, was transferred to a plastic surgery hospital in Beijing for free treatment on Monday night.

A reality TV show in Jiangsu province had invited the girl and her family to Nanjing, Jiangsu province, and contacted the Evercare Beijing Aikang Hospital to get treatment for her. The hospital agreed and will treat her at no cost.

"Medical conditions in Zhou Yan's hometown were not as good," said the girl's lawyer, Li Zhixian.

Li said Zhou had been staying at home since the end of last year because the parents of Tao Rukun, her former classmate whom police suspect of setting Zhou on fire in September after she spurned his advances, refused to pay medical bills.

Zhou's family could not afford the expense.

"We (Zhou Yan's family and Li) chose a list of hospitals in Hefei, Shanghai and Beijing and narrowed them down to this one, based on their facilities and service. Zhou's mother made personal visits to these hospitals," Li said.

"She's still in unavoidable pain. Every time her burnt skin was touched, she would cry," said Zhou Feng, the girl's father, who is the sole wage-earner in the family.

"I sneaked out from work for a few days to keep my daughter company in Beijing," he said.

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