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February 24, 2012

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Subdistrict official probed for working with blood agents

PUDONG New Area police are investigating a subdistrict official said to work with illegal blood agents to recruit people to fill blood-donation quotas.

The investigation came yesterday after undercover reporting done by a local television station. Reporters found blood donor recruiting advertisements online and contacted an illegal agent. The agent and the subdistrict official, Wei Jian, brought the reporter and another three people to donate blood for the Lujiazui subdistrict on Tuesday.

The agent helped change the recruited donors' addresses to so they appeared to be Lujiazui residents. After giving blood, each donor received payment of 700 yuan (US$111) to 1,000 yuan from the agent. A real Lujiazui resident can receive 2,000 yuan as a nutrition subsidy from the subdistrict for donating the same amount of blood.

Acted on his own

Lujiazui subdistrict officials admitted to Shanghai Daily yesterday that Wei Jian is their official in charge of health work and has been taken to the police for investigation.

"Wei adopted wrong methods to fulfill the task," said a community spokeswoman. "It's Wei's personal behavior. It has nothing to do with the subdistrict itself," she said.

Wei has been working in the subdistrict for three years.

Lu Yi, an official from the Shanghai Blood Administration, called it an isolated case that won't impact the current practice, which brings in blood from voluntary donations at streetside blood-collecting vehicles and blood centers, and quotas finished by subdistricts, governmental facilities and companies.

"Quota is an important solution for the city to collect enough blood for clinical use," Lu said.

Safety not affected

"I don't know the size of the quota imposed on Lujiazui subdistrict, which should be in line with its population size," Lu said. "Its official's behavior may involve illegal blood sales. But local blood safety won't be impacted, since all donors must receive health checkups before donation and all blood must undergo serious screening on infectious diseases like AIDS and hepatitis B, before being put into clinical use."

Zhu Chengli, a Pudong community official, said the community was asked to find a certain number of blood donors by the subdistrict every year.

To fulfill the quota, the community spent two months promoting the charity course among residents.

"Most people are not willing to donate their blood because they believe it will harm their health," Zhu said.

As a reward, each blood donor receives nutrients worth hundreds of yuan.


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