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China Struggles to Come to Grips with Anorexia

Posted: 09/2/2014 10:52 am

Suzhou anorexia nervosaAnorexia nervosa is a well-known eating disorder around most of the world, but it’s still relatively new in China, which was impoverished for decades prior to the reform and opening period that began in 1978.

The Mayo Clinic describes it as a disease that results in people starving themselves as an unhealthy way to deal with emotional problems. For these people, being thin is the only thing that gives them self-esteem.

There are many causes of anorexia, ranging from psychological, biological, and sociological; some sufferers are even influenced by images in the media. But the perception of anorexia in China is still evolving as medical practitioners come to terms with it. Here, the disease is still viewed as something you “catch” if you diet too much.

Chinese media has recently profiled a 24 year-old Suzhou woman who has apparently been suffering from a “mysterious ailment” that has caused her to continually lose weight for six years.

Suzhou anorexia nervosa

Xiaoxiao (a pseudonym) was 169 cm (5’6″) tall and weighed 55 kg (121 lbs) when she was a second-year high school student in 2007. Today, she weighs a mere 39 kg (88 lbs).

The problem started in 2008 when Xiaoxiao returned to high school after taking a year off to recover from an operation to correct her spine. Discovering that many of her classmates were dieting, Xiaoxiao followed the trend of eating less as a way to become thinner. Xiaoxiao only ate one mouthful of food at dinner, and skip lunch all together.

By 2009, Xiaoxiao had dropped to 50 kg (110 lbs). She looked unhealthy, but her parents didn’t think much of it. When Xiaoxiao complained of being constipated, a doctor prescribed her a laxative that made things worse by giving her diarrhea. At this time, Xiaoxiao stopped having her period.

Xiaoxiao was later taken to a hospital where she received treatment from the Traditional Chinese Medicine department. She was prescribed nourishing medicine to increase her health, but this proved to be ineffectual.

This past April, Xiaoxiao was taken to a Wuxi hospital where she was diagnosed as not receiving enough nourishment and required drug supplements. This treatment was very effective at first: after two months, Xiaoxiao’s weight increased from 40 kg (88 lbs) to 44 kg (97 lbs). However, after three months, her intestines were found to be massively swollen as a result.

In July, Xiaoxiao was taken to Huashan hospital in Shanghai where she was given anti-allergy medication that proved to be very effective. Xiaoxiao got her appetite back, but the situation reversed itself after a week.

At no time was Xiaoxiao given any psychological counselling or even diagnosed with anorexia. Xiaoxiao’s parents have now stopped giving her any nutritional supplements, including expensive foreign imports. Instead, Xiaoxiao’s father, Mr Song, is desperately asking anyone for their help to solve his daughter’s ailment.

Suzhou anorexia nervosa

He has struggled to cope with his daughter’s problems, and confessed he often cries due to the unbearable pain of seeing his daughter suffering. He is at a loss of what to do to help her.

Xiaoxiao, though, does have some advice for others considering dieting:

Girls: be sure not to blindly follow trends just to torment yourself. I feel that being a bit pudgy is better in the end.

Despite the dire situation, Xiaoxiao has so far not received any emotional or psychological treatment to deal with her condition.

Photos: China News, Guangzhou Daily



Sensational Rape Case in China Has Women Fearful Nationwide

Posted: 08/28/2014 6:20 pm

jinan train station black cab rapistA sensational case in which a university student was kidnapped and repeatedly raped for four days by the driver of an unlicensed pedicab in Jinan has prompted media to warn Chinese women to be careful. The case has also galvanized the country, making headlines nationwide.

The victim, a 22 year-old university student named Jin, arrived at the Jinan Railway Station on August 21 at around 7pm. She needed to take another train at Xike Station, and had to find a way to get there quickly. A 52 year-old man approached her and offered to give her a ride in his three-wheeled pedicab.

The driver, a 52 year-old man surnamed Dai, did not know how to get to Xike Station and ended up driving around in circles. Jin missed her train as a result, and asked to be taken back to the original train station. That’s when things escalated. Dai threatened to strangle Jin to death, and raped her in the three-wheeled cab. Dai then took Jin back to his residence where he beat her severely.

Three days later, on August 25, the Public Security Bureau of Central Jinan received a report from a Beijing resident named Sun who said his friend had been kidnapped. Jin had used Dai’s phone to send a text message to Sun saying she was being held in a place called “Longzhuang”. A police investigation later found both the suspect and the victim together on the second floor of a taxi company in Shuanglongzhuang.

Deputy captain of the Qixian police sub-station Liu Xiaoyi described the crime:

For approximately four days, Jin was bound, gagged, beaten, terrified, and raped. As well, sex drugs and sex toys were used to sexually violate Miss Jin.

Officer Wang Lushan was one of the first officers to arrive on the scene:

When we found her, she had already lost the ability to request help from us. Her eyes had a lifeless look to them, and she was not responsive. The woman’s right eye had already swollen black … She had suffered broken bones and scars from being beaten. It was a heart-breaking sight.

Jin was taken to hospital, and Dai was taken into police custody.

In light of this incident, police are warning women to stay vigilant and stay away from unlicensed “black cabs” or pedicabs. The advice is similar to instructions not to “trust anyone” previously given to female university students by a retired police officer. In the wake of the incident, infographics and tips have been published on Weibo to urge women to be more responsible in “staying vigilant” (below).

rape warning infographic

It has since been revealed that the suspect in this case, Dai, is a four-time repeat offender who has previously committed crimes of rape and confinement and personally admits to being a sexual deviant for whom “all hope is lost”.

Dai is originally from Fushun, Liaoning Province, and arrived in Jinan in 2003. He has never been married, but has lived with three different women. Dai was first arrested as a juvenile for stealing, and then was convicted of rape in 1983 and sentenced to ten years in prison. Dai was sent to jail for kidnapping a woman in 2010, and for indecent assault in 2012. In 2013, Dai was set free.

In an interview with a reporter, Dai explains he is not sorry for the victim because he himself is a victim. Furthermore, Dai says he was framed for the 1983 rape conviction. Asked if this was an injustice, Dai said:

Yes. Things were very strict in 1983. Back then, I had a non-sexual relationship with (the victim). Because she didn’t go home for two, three days, her family beat and cursed her, and said she was without shame. In order to save herself so that she could regain her face, she said that I forced her (to have sex). For this reason, I was convicted of rape and sentenced to ten years in prison, and exiled to the north-west. Think of it, ten years: from the time I was 20 until I was 30, I had lost all my friends, my family, everything and anything I had was lost. Even after I was released and had my own child, I still didn’t understand the meaning of responsibility, feeling, love… these are things that I don’t know. I’m never going to get these things, so that’s why I have abandoned any hope for me.

jinan train station black cab rapist

Police say Dai is at risk of offending again.


Photos: Shenzhen Financial Report, iFeng


“Vampire Blood” Drinks A Safety Hazard, Pulled From Store Shelves in China

Posted: 07/16/2014 9:36 am

vampire drinks blood packA new vampire craze in China that saw retail drinks packaged as blood plasma bags has gone too far, reports China Daily.

On July 14, the China Food and Drug Administration warned consumers to refrain from purchasing “Vampire Drinks” in an announcement on its website. The agency called the drinks a public health danger, particularly for children, prompting retailers to immediately stop selling the drink.

The drinks were also criticized for only having an English label which lack any identifiable information such as the location of the factory or serial numbers.

vampire drinks blood pack

The drinks, which are red in color, are packaged in a container that resembles a blood pack used in hospitals. They are marketed under a variety of names that include: Vampire Drinks, Vampire Diary Drinks, Vampire Blood Plasma Drinks, Vampire Energy Drinks, and Emulated Blood Plasma. Some of the drinks are further classified into sub-categories of blood types: A, B, AB, O, and also “Other”.

While the government claimed the drinks are a threat to public health, the report does not elaborate on what the specific risks are. In fact, the China Food and Drug Administration doesn’t even say what these “Vampire Drinks” are made of, whether they are juices, teas, or flavored water.

As a cultural phenomenon in China, vampires are often put in the same category as hopping zombies (僵尸) and remain a taboo subject in the public sphere.

vampire drinks blood packvampire drinks blood packvampire drinks blood packvampire drinks blood pack

Photos: Shenzhen Weibo Announcements, Sina Guangdong, China Daily, Guangzhou Police, Foshan Daily

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