協助揭露中國農村愛滋病危機的王淑平去世,享年59歲

Chris Buckley/紐約時報/2019930/ https://www.nytimes.com/財團法人台灣紅絲帶基金會編譯

王淑平無視試圖掩蓋中國農村愛滋病流行的中國官員。她協助揭露了H.I.V.透過劣質設施從貧困的農民那裡購買血液而造成傳播。圖片來源:Hampstead Theater

王淑平是一名中國醫師,於921日在美國鹽湖城去世,享年59歲,她當年冒著失去工作、被排斥、毆打和初次婚姻破壞的風險去揭露出愛滋病在中國農村的蔓延。

她與丈夫Gary Christensen在峽谷遠足時喪生。他丈夫說,初步驗屍結果顯示原因是心臟病。從她定居美國後,近年來一直住在鹽湖城。

她在英國倫敦根據她作為一個吹哨者的經歷演出的舞台劇上演之後僅兩週就去世了。

王醫師在她被收容的家園中(最近在猶他大學)擔任醫學研究員,在相對安靜的環境中工作了近二十年。她說,同事有時不知道她的戲劇性過往。

1990年代,她挺身面對試圖掩蓋中國農村愛滋病流行的中國官員。在那裡,引起血源性疾病的人類免疫缺乏病毒的傳播,歸因於從貧困的農民那裡購買血液的偽劣設施。

她是中國一群冒著很大的風險來揭露有關河南省和其他地區隱藏著流行病信息的醫生、研究人員、活動家和新聞記者中的一員,她是舉報人,整理了證據。

「王淑平是抗擊愛滋病鬥爭中最早參加這場鬥爭的醫務人員」,高耀潔一位公眾知名致力於揭露和治療愛滋病在當地的蔓延而努力的河南籍醫生。在一篇追悼王的文章中表示「為此,她遭受了她一生中最嚴峻的攻擊和痛苦」。

最終-但在王醫師看來,卻為時已晚-中國當局關閉了傳播愛滋病毒的商業血站。並向感染的村民提供醫療幫助,這些感染通常發生在他們或家人出售血液後。

 

圖像來源:GaryChristensen /Hampstead Theater;王醫師站在正舉行的《地獄宮殿的國王》開幕式首演的倫敦Hampstead Theater劇台中心,該劇係根據她的經驗而編製。

王醫師對自己的成就感到自豪但卻被她和家人們所承受的痛苦所削弱。在她拿到H.I.V.感染的證據並給了北京的官員和研究人員後,她在河南的上司攻擊了她。

她說,一位前醫務官員用棍棒擊碎了她測試的實驗室並毆打了她。當地政府關閉了實驗室,讓她無薪離職。而她與在醫療行政部門擔任官員之丈夫的婚姻也在壓力下亦導致破裂。

劇作家高雅竹(Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig)根據王醫師的故事演出的舞台劇《地獄宮殿的國王》最近在倫敦的漢普斯特德劇院(Hampstead Theatre)首演。

王醫師在劇院網站上的問答式交流中說:「在當下大聲地說出,讓我賠上了我的工作、婚姻和幸福,但同時也挽救了成千上萬人的生命」。「我想預防疾病,我不在乎權力和職位」。

王淑平,19591020日生於河南扶溝縣。她的母親黃雲玲是一名鄉村醫生。她的父親鄒邦彥(Bou Bangyan)是一位數學老師,曾是國民黨軍隊的一名士兵,但遭到了毛澤東共產黨的擊敗。

1966年毛澤東開始「文化大革命」以清除中國所謂的敵人之後,王醫師的父母因其父親的家庭背景而遭到襲擊,當她8歲時她的教育也因此而中斷。在她離開了家鄉並被叔叔收養,五年後她恢復了學業。她並將自己的姓氏改為「王」。

1991年,在醫學院畢業後,王醫師開始在河南的血漿採集中心工作。她成為愛滋病的行動家始於對肝炎的興趣,肝炎是另一種通過血液和其他體液傳播的傳染病。

河南省促進了商業採血的熱潮,招募了成千上萬的貧困農民以幾美元的價格出售血液。王醫生在賣血的人群中發現了令人震驚的C型肝炎病毒感染水平,她擔心愛滋病毒/愛滋病也可能通過血液業務而傳播。

王醫師(左側)與《地獄宮殿的國王》的劇作家高雅竹(Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig)。中國官員試圖取消該劇作。

圖片來源Hampstead Theatre

她的老闆們嘲笑。中國官員將愛滋病視為外國人的疾病,不願接受愛滋病毒/愛滋病可以在賣血的農民中傳播。他們說,此外,H.I.V綜合性測試太昂貴了,阻礙了血漿和其他血液製品利潤豐厚的業務。

王醫師仍然堅持。她用自己的積蓄購買了三個H.I.V.測試套組並隨機測試了408個樣本病毒狀況。她的發現震驚了她:從賣血者那裡採集的樣本中有13%感染了這種病毒,這是令人震驚的高感染率。

商業採血站工作便宜。他們採了血,提取了寶貴的血漿,並透過輸血,將血液剩餘的部分輸回給了賣方,以便抽血站可以少付錢,賣方亦可以更快地恢復過來以再次出售血液。站內的設備經常很髒。更糟糕的是,他們經常在桶中混合剩餘的血液,然後將其輸回幾組的賣血者,大大增加了交叉感染的風險。

一位當地官員起初稱讚王醫生的偵探工作,但很快就撤退並指稱她缺乏證據。她帶了55個樣本到北京進行更多測試。病毒學研究所拒絕對它們進行測試,除非她支付高昂的費用。但王博士遇到了一位研究人員,他意識到了這個問題的緊迫性,並測試了16個樣本:13個絕對是H.I.V.陽性,三個可能陽性。

曾幫助河南發現愛滋病傳播的前河南新聞記者張繼成說:「即使官員們不願意透露信息,她也有勇氣繼續收集和分享證據」。「她沒有官方支持;這是她的個人選擇,她為此受了苦」。

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shuping Wang, Who Helped Expose China’s Rural AIDS Crisis, Dies at 59

 

ImageShuping Wang defied Chinese officials who tried to hide an AIDS epidemic in rural China. She helped expose the spread of H.I.V. through shoddy facilities that bought blood from poor farmers.

Shuping Wang defied Chinese officials who tried to hide an AIDS epidemic in rural China. She helped expose the spread of H.I.V. through shoddy facilities that bought blood from poor farmers. Credit Hampstead Theater

By Chris Buckley/ Sept. 30, 2019/https://www.nytimes.com/

Shuping Wang, a Chinese doctor who braved the loss of her job as well as ostracism, assault and the destruction of her first marriage to expose the spread of AIDS in rural China, died on Sept. 21 in Salt Lake City. She was 59.

She died while hiking in a canyon with her husband, Gary Christensen. A preliminary autopsy indicated that the cause was a heart attack, he said. She had lived in Salt Lake City in recent years after settling in the United States.

Her death came just over two weeks after a stage play based on her experience as a whistle-blower opened in London.

Dr. Wang worked for nearly two decades in relative quiet as a medical researcher in her adopted homeland, most recently at the University of Utah. Colleagues, she said, sometimes did not know of her dramatic past.

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In the 1990s, she stood up to Chinese officials who had tried to conceal an AIDS epidemic in rural

China. There, the spread of H.I.V., the virus that causes the blood-borne disease, had been attributed to shoddy facilities that bought blood from poor farmers.

Dr. Wang was one of a group of Chinese doctors, researchers, activists and journalists who took great risks to spread information about the hidden epidemic in Henan Province and other regions. She was the whistle-blower who marshaled evidence of it.

“Wang Shuping was the earliest medical worker to enter the fray in the war against AIDS,” Gao Yaojie, a doctor from Henan, who become the public face of efforts to expose and treat the spread of AIDS there, wrote in a tribute to Ms. Wang. “For this, she suffered the most grievous attacks and pain of her life.”

Eventually — far too late, in Dr. Wang’s view — the Chinese authorities shuttered the commercial blood stations that had spread H.I.V. and offered medical help to villagers who had become infected, usually after they or family members sold blood.

https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/10/01/obituaries/01shuping-obit1/merlin_161586198_df17cc98-ebe5-44fd-9fc8-3881311b68b7-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp&disable=upscale

ImageDr. Wang, center, at the Hampstead Theater in London at the opening of “The King of Hell’s Palace,” a play based on her experiences.CreditGary Christensen/Hampstead Theatre

Dr. Wang’s pride in what she accomplished was tempered by what she and her family endured. After she took evidence of the H.I.V. infections to officials and researchers in Beijing, her superiors in Henan assailed her.

A former medical official, she said, used a club to smash Ms. Wang’s testing lab and beat her. The local government shut the lab, leaving her without pay. Her marriage to an official who worked in the medical administration cracked under the pressure.

The play based on Dr. Wang’s story, “The King of Hell’s Palace,” by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, recently had its premiere at the Hampstead Theater in London.

“Speaking out cost me my job, my marriage and my happiness at the time, but it also helped save the lives of thousands and thousands of people,” Dr. Wang said in a question-and-answer exchange on the theater’s website. “I wanted to prevent disease, I didn’t care about power and position.”

Shuping Wang was born Zou Shuping on Oct. 20, 1959, in Fugou County, Henan. Her mother, Huang Yunling, was a village doctor; her father, Zou Bangyan, was a math teacher who had been a soldier in the Nationalist forces that were defeated by Mao Zedong’s Communists.

After Mao began the Cultural Revolution in 1966 to purge China of purported enemies, Dr. Wang’s parents were attacked because of her father’s background, and her education was cut short when she was 8. She resumed school five years later, after she had left her home village and was adopted by an uncle. She took his family name, Wang, as her own.

In 1991, after medical school, Dr. Wang began working in a plasma collection center in Henan. Her odyssey into AIDS activism began through her interest in hepatitis, another infectious disease spread through blood and other body fluids.

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Henan had nurtured a boom in commercial blood harvesting, recruiting hundreds of thousands of poor farmers to sell blood for a few dollars. Dr. Wang found alarming levels of hepatitis C among the people selling blood, and she worried that H.I.V. might also be spreading through the blood business.

 

Dr. Wang, left, with Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, the playwright of “The King of Hell’s Palace.” Chinese officials tried to have the play canceled.

Dr. Wang, left, with Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, the playwright of “The King of Hell’s Palace.” Chinese officials tried to have the play canceled.CreditHampstead Theater

Her bosses scoffed. Chinese officials saw AIDS as a foreign affliction and were unwilling to accept that H.I.V. could spread among farmers selling blood. Besides, they said, comprehensive testing for H.I.V. would be too expensive, hobbling the lucrative business in plasma and other blood products.

Dr. Wang persisted. She used her savings to buy three H.I.V. test kits and randomly tested 408 samples for the virus. What she found stunned her: Thirteen percent of the samples collected from blood sellers had the virus, an alarmingly high rate of infection.

The commercial blood stations worked cheaply. They took blood, extracted the valuable plasma and, through transfusions, gave the sellers leftover blood parts so that the stations could pay them less and the sellers could recover more quickly to sell again. The stations’ equipment was often dirty. Worse, they often mixed leftover blood in tubs, then transfused it into groups of blood sellers, greatly increasing the risks of cross-infection.

A local official at first praised Dr. Wang for her detective work, but soon retreated and accused her of lacking proof. She took 55 samples to Beijing for more tests. A virology institute refused to test them unless she paid an exorbitant amount. But Dr. Wang ran into a researcher who grasped the urgency of the issue and had 16 samples tested: 13 were definitely H.I.V. positive, three possibly positive.

“She had the courage to keep collecting and sharing evidence even when officials didn’t want information revealed,” Zhang Jicheng, a former Henan journalist who helped uncover the spread of AIDS there, said in an interview. “She had no official support; this was her personal choice, and she suffered for it.”