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Poor farmer dies from illegal blood collection

A FARMER who was enticed to sell blood to an illegal blood collection business in north China died from septicemia after giving blood four times in about two months.

Li Jianjun, 46, a villager of Yicheng County of Shanxi Province's Linfen City, died on January 17, leaving his two children orphaned, the Shanghai Morning Post reported yesterday.

Li led a poor life after his wife died of cancer in 2006. He sold blood for the first time in October last year after a middle-aged woman came to his village looking for donors.

Li Jianjun's brother Li Jianguo said the woman told the villagers they could make money and get free medical check-ups by giving blood at a clinic in neighboring Quwo County.

She organized a bus to take the villagers to the clinic. About 30 villagers went on each trip, each giving 400 milliliters of blood every time for 145 yuan (US$21) plus a bottle of cooking oil or a bag of rice worth 30 yuan.

But Li Jianjun found he was growing weaker every time he made a donation. After the fourth, his health deteriorated and he was sent to a hospital in Yicheng where he died.

Li Jianjun's doctor Kong Guofang said he had died from septicemia, which could have been caused by an infection during the illegal blood collection.

The woman who organized the illegal blood collection disappeared after Li's death, villagers said. No one in the village knows her identity.

Li Jianjun's neighbors Li Cuihua, 42, and Wang Xiaobao, 37, both sold blood six times but stopped after Li Jianjun's death.

Li Cuihua said people only had to show identification cards to give blood at the clinic. If they did not have an ID card they paid a 100-yuan deposit. If they had any health problems, the woman organizer would help them pass the medical check-up.

Zhang Jiangbo, an executive from Quwo Kangbao Blood Co Ltd which is the clinic involved, admitted it was being investigated but denied the company employed people to organize blood donors, which is illegal.

Zhang Gencang, the director of Linfen's official blood center, said Kangbao is not allowed to collect blood.


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