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February 12, 2011

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Locals rally round father selling art for son's surgery

LOCALS yesterday came to the aid of a jobless father trying to sell artwork on Shanghai's streets to help his seriously ill son.

Hui Xueqing, from Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province, hoped selling paintings and paper-cutting would raise money for his 25-year-old son, who suffers kidney failure and needs organ transplants.

But he was driven away by urban management officials hours after he illegally set up a stand before the Moore Memorial Church, near People's Square, yesterday.

However, Hui's luck took a turn for the better as a passing artist offered his studio in Minhang District as a temporary sales venue and accommodation.

And two local college students volunteered to open a Taobao e-commerce store to help Hui raise the 250,000 yuan (US$37,879) needed for his son's medical treatment.

"It is not the city's size but its love capacity that counts, and this means a lot to me," said Hui.

Hui's son was diagnosed with diabetes in 1995. To meet medical bills, Hui quit his poorly paid temporary job as a reporter with a country newspaper and he and his wife took up heavy laboring jobs, often working day and night.

The situation turned worse after his son developed kidney failure in March last year. "Doctors say my son requires a kidney and pancreas transplant within two years, otherwise he will die," Hui said.

To raise money for the operation, Hui decided to travel to sell paintings donated by artist friends and his own paper-cutting works. So far, he has been to more than 10 cities.

He finally got a chance to come to Shanghai after a web user who heard of his plight subsidized his train ticket.

In the time he was selling artwork outside the church, a man surnamed Yu bought a painting for 200 yuan and publicized his story online.

Hui plans to stay in Shanghai for another three days.


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