RIGHT DEFENDER: Xiao Jing (center), a carrier of hepatitis B, invites people to have dinner together at Nanping Street in Kunming, Yunnan Province, on August 22 (CFP)
On August 22, a young woman holding a board stood at Nanping Street in downtown Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province, and diverted the attention of passersby. It was the writing on the board that made people stop. "I am a carrier of hepatitis B (HBV), which is not transmitted by simple contact. I am here to invite you to have dinner with me."
This woman's name is Xiao Jing, and she had been to more than 10 cities around China to invite strangers for dinner since July 3.
"A lot of people are misinformed about HBV and the diseases related to it," said Xiao, who was found to be a carrier as a sophomore student in college. Due to her diagnosis, she was denied jobs by several companies after graduation last year.
"I don't know how people get such wrong ideas, but it is unfair," Xiao said. To confront the ignorance she encountered, Xiao started her "inviting-people-for-dinner" tour around China in July.
Xiao is also a member of an informal philanthropic organization known as the "weeding" group. The group is made up of six HBV carriers who are endeavoring to help people rid themselves of the weeds of discrimination that have grown in their hearts.
China has 93 million people infected with HBV, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Health on July 28.
"It is not only HBV carriers who are discriminated against in China," said Lei Chuang, an HBV carrier and initiator of the group. "The majority of people in the country have very wrong ideas concerning things like this. I think it is necessary to spread basic knowledge about science and technology."