False claims over death of student corrected

Authorities have set the record straight after a Chinese college student's death sparked heated discussions online.

Authorities have set the record straight after a Chinese college student’s death sparked heated discussions online.

Last Monday, Wu Huayan died of Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, a progressive genetic disorder where symptoms of aging are shown at a young age. She was previously a student at Guizhou Forerunner College in southwest China’s Guizhou Province.

After Wu’s death, rumors swirled around that she “died of starvation” and that her death was a result of saving money to support her brother.

Some media outlets claimed Wu spent only 2 yuan (US$0.29) a day on her meals, that she ate white rice mixed with chili peppers for five years, and that she depended on 300 yuan of government funds to get by.

But all these rumors are untrue, said Zhang Huiwei, an official from Wu’s college.

“She was the smallest of all 19 disabled students admitted into the college in 2017,” said Wang Shan, who works in the college’s logistics and security office. “She grabbed our attention.”

The college gave Wu an annual scholarship of 4,000 yuan and Wang gave her 400 yuan of personal money, which Wu turned down initially.

Government figures showed that Wu’s family received a variety of government funds.

Between 2017 and 2019, Wu received 15,000 yuan of government funds, 15,500 yuan in scholarship money and 17,000 yuan of personal support from teachers.

The college and the local government continued to help her in hospital but she was too weak for standard treatment.

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