Across China: More young Chinese sign up to become organ, body donors
LANZHOU, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- Teens are always finding new ways to celebrate their 18th birthdays, and this is particularly true for Hu Wenyi, a college student in northwest China's Gansu Province.
Two years ago, to mark her entry into adulthood, Hu thought of a different way to celebrate -- registering online to become a voluntary organ and body donor.
The now-20-year-old, who is a student at the Lanzhou College of Foreign Studies, visited the Gansu branch of the Red Cross Society last week, where she signed application forms to complete the final formalities of her voluntary donation registration.
The number of Chinese people signing up to become organ donors has been rising in recent years, and young people are particularly enthusiastic. Data from the China Organ Donation Administrative Center shows that more than 5.01 million people had signed up to become organ donors by early September, compared with the 25,000 registered cases in 2015.
In Gansu, organ and body donors aged between 18 and 29 account for 63.4 percent of the total number of registered donors, said Hou Chunrui, head of the health promotion office of the Gansu branch of the Red Cross Society.
"Well-educated younger generations are breaking the taboo of talking about death-related topics, such as body donation and eco-friendly burials," Hou said, noting that this indicates the improved development of life education in China.
Cui Hao, 20, decided to sign up to become an organ and body donor after the sudden death of his friend in a car accident six months ago. Pained with grief for months, Cui became aware of the fragility of life.
"That was the first time I experienced the pain of death, which made me think about the meaning of my life," he said. Recovering from the sorrow, Cui convinced his parents to support his decision, which he hopes will help others avoid being tormented by the pain of death.
"The real death of a person is when nobody in this world remembers him or her," said Fu Yansong, a 21-year-old registered organ donor. "When other people can live longer and better with my organs, it feels like my life could be extended in another way."
While Fu wants to extend his life's value beyond death, Hu hopes to raise public awareness about the importance of body donation to the advancement of medical science.
Hu, who became a medical student three years ago, refers to cadavers as "silent teachers." She noted that although the number of organ donors is increasing, many still reject the idea of donating their bodies to medical research and education, as Chinese people have traditionally held that a person's body should remain intact after death.
"'Silent teachers' play an irreplaceable role in medical education and research. They can give medical students a real understanding of the human body," Hu said.
Unsurprisingly, her decision to donate her body was opposed by her parents, but she has finally managed to convince them to support her.
"The decision was not made in haste or in pessimism, but after a long deliberation on the meaning of life," she said.