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Postgrad's poisoning death raises questions


08:13, April 18, 2013

SHANGHAI, April 17 (Xinhua) -- The parents of Huang Yang, eager to find out the truth behind their son's death, consented to an autopsy on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old post-graduate student at Fudan University was pronounced dead due to multiple organ failure on April 16. It has been suspected that he was poisoned by his roommate.

The case became widely known on April 15, when the university issued an online statement saying that a student who had consumed poisoned water in his dorm was in serious condition. The statement was widely forwarded, reminding many of a similar case that occurred in 1994.

Zhu Ling, a sophomore at Tsinghua University, reported experiencing severe stomach pain and hair loss around the end of 1994. She was hospitalized and allowed to return to school after her condition improved.

However, her symptoms returned even worse than before the following March, leading doctors to diagnose her with thallium poisoning. Although an antidote was administered in time to save her life, she suffered permanent neurological damage, leaving her paralyzed and blind. Her roommate was investigated and subsequently cleared as a suspect in the case.

In Huang's case, police have detained his roommate Lin Senhao and are continuing to investigate the case.

The tragedy began when Huang drank the allegedly poisoned water on April 1. He exhibited symptoms of vomiting and fever and was sent to Zhongshan Hospital. His health worsened over the next few days, as doctors were unable to identify what he had consumed. Huang perished approximately two weeks after drinking the water.

Born to a poor family in southwest China's Sichuan Province, Huang was a capable student in medical school, having recently become a PhD candidate. Huang was able to pay for his education through scholarships and even used some of the money to pay for some of his mother's medical bills.

Huang was also active on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. His last post was made on March 13. Most of his posts now contain replies with message of condolence.

"Both my parent lost their jobs when I was in junior high school. My family borrowed heavily to pay for my mom's medical bills. I made up my mind to earn a living all by myself . Looking back at my five years at Fudan University, I can proudly say I've made it." Huang said in an 2010 speech delivered at a scholarship award ceremony.

Huang was also active in charitable causes. He volunteered to teach in southwest China's Tibetan Autonomous Region and encouraged impoverished local students to pursue their dreams.

Fudan University's website has adopted a black-and-white color scheme in memory of the promising medical student.

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