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China provides life for Indian family


20:14, May 16, 2013

GUANGZHOU, May 16 (Xinhua) -- Madhavi Dhanak considers China as her second home. The country has been a lucky place for the 34-year-old Indian woman and her family, as her son who suffered from Thalassemia, a blood disorder, was saved by Chinese doctors.

Eight years ago Dhanak met an Indian man on the Internet. The man, Manoj Mangat, was working in China at the time. The couple soon married after Mangat went back to India.

"Despite the thousands of miles between China and India, we managed a long-distance relationship. Soon our first baby was born," Dhanak said.

Their baby son Mohanish was diagnosed with Thalassemia, a condition that needs a blood transfusion every month.

The couple traveled all over India for a cure, but failed.

In 2006, Dhanak, with her seven-month-old baby, settled in Guangzhou,capital of south China's Guangdong Province, where her husband got a job in a foreign trade company.

"When we arrived in Guangzhou, a friend introduced me to Dr Li Chunfu in Nanfang Hospital. Li offered a way to save my son, which was to give birth to another baby and transplant the new baby's marrow to Mohanish."

Dhanak, who used to be a doctor in India, had heard about the operation. But she had her doubts because Indian doctors were not so sure.

"But I found that this Chinese doctor was very confident in what he was saying and we followed his advice," she said.

Mohanish had the marrow transplant in October 2009. He has now recovered and does what other children do.

"He now goes to school, goes to play, and he likes baseball," Dhanak said. Her five-year-old daughter Masumi likes Indian dance.

"In one sense, China has given my children a life, and that's why it has a very special place in my heart."

For Dhanak, China is special for another reason. "I have a very special family here, who are my neighbors, and I call them 'mama, baba and jiejie' (Chinese for father, mother and sister). They are like my Chinese family."

Their neighbor, a family from central China's Hunan Province, helped the Indian family through their difficulties.

"When my son was in hospital, it was not just money that we needed. We needed a very strong support system. My mother was here from India, but apart from her, it was my Chinese family that helped us get through such a difficult time," she said, "and again that's another reason why China is very special to me."

One of Dhanak's dreams is to get Chinese citizenship, but the threshold for her is too high to reach.

"I have talked to a Chinese friend and I said why don't they give me Chinese citizenship, and she said 'we have so many people for now. Why do we want more?' I agree to that, but I wish I could stay in China forever, because this is home now."

Like Dhanak and her family tens of thousands of Indians live in China. As the economy grows, Indian people come here to look for new opportunities. In the coastal city Guangzhou, for instance, there are about 3,000 Indian businessmen.

In a place called Regal Court in northeastern Guangzhou, there are up to300 Indian families. "It is the biggest Indian community in Guangzhou, you can even find an Indian temple, an Indian food shop in it," said Sameer Gee Pee, the founding chief coordinator of Guangzhou Indian Association.

According to him, the majority of Indians came to the city in 2002. They settled down in the community together because back then it was difficult to find English speakers, and therefore important for them to remain as a group.

"They are now either working for Indian companies in sourcing, shipping and inspection of goods, or busy setting up businesses like restaurants and factories," said Gee Pee.

He came to China in 2006 with his wife, and now have two sons. One is four, and the other is a month old.

"I told my wife I don't really expect our children will get married to Indians. They could get married anywhere. The world is changing so fast these days that culture differences are almost vanishing. I hope we can all live together as one nation, the whole world."

Gee Pee thinks that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's trip to India, which begins on Sunday, will signify a major shift. With the Indian-China relationship increasing, it will be beneficial to both countries, "because today both of us, the Indian and the Chinese, share the biggest asset of all. We have a lot of people and resources. If we use it constructively, together and not against each other, it will be good for the world as a whole."

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