The personal account of a 19-year-old woman describing how she was sexually molested and maltreated by her plastic surgeon in Shanghai’s Ninth People’s Hospital has caused a stir on Chinese social media. The girl, who calls herself “Unhappy Bunny 555” (@不开心的兔兔555) posted her story on Weibo on December 9.
Within 42 hours after posting, her post was viewed millions of times, receiving thousands of comments. Because her first post was allegedly removed by Sina Weibo, the young woman had to post it again. The second post was viewed nearly 11 million times by the time of writing.
The girl, nicknamed ‘Tutu’, has been posting about her experiences earlier this year. In her latest long blog post, which has been making its rounds on Chinese social media, she writes:
“I am a 19-year-old girl. In the winter of 2015, I went to Shanghai’s Ninth People’s Hospital’s Dr. Yu Dong (余东) for surgery on my face. The story I am about to tell comes from my own personal experience, and if it contains any inaccuracies I am willing to face potential legal consequences.”
“Because the shape of my face is somewhat sharp and not delicate, I started searching for plastic surgery on the internet. I come from a family that is not rich, and my parents are very conservative. I saved up my own Chinese New Year money and worked part-time jobs in my spare time, and after several years of saving, penny by penny, I planned to go to the big city to find a reliable doctor for the big surgery.”
“I told Dr. Yu Dong I only wanted to fix my lower jaw, but he told me it would not be possible without also operating my chin. I trusted in his expertise and agreed.”
“Like many other girls, I found Dr. Yu Dong through the internet. Looking at his work and writings on Weibo, I felt he was a very advanced, confident and competent doctor. Considering he was a specialist at the Shanghai Ninth People’s Hospital, I trusted there would not be any problems. Since I had to register at the hospital in order to get an appointment with him, I already spent a lot of money [arranging this] before I finally got my consultation. I told Dr. Yu Dong I only wanted to fix my lower jaw, but he told me it would not be possible without also operating my chin. I trusted in his expertise and agreed.”
“I arrived on time on the day of my admittance to the hospital, paid the surgery fee, and waited in line with other girls to take pictures. I met a girl there who had come for a second facial surgery. She told me her first operation was on her cheekbones by Dr. Yu Dong, which did not come out right, and that she would now do a second operation. I immediately felt something was wrong (if the first time was not good, why would you come in a second time? Shouldn’t it be right the first time around?), but this surgery had been my dream for such a long time and I had already paid for it, so I told myself it was okay.”
“Until the day of the surgery, I did not see Dr. Yu Dong at all. Right before I would go on the operating table, I met Dr. Yu Dong in his office together with two other girls to briefly discuss our surgeries (he did not address the specifics of our surgeries, nor their medical implications). One of the girls named Hu then told the doctor that he had also had a breast surgery. The doctor then suddenly reached out, put his hand inside her hospital gown (which we had to wear without any underwear for the operation) and touched [her breasts]. When I asked Dr. Yu Dong about my own surgery, he just quickly withdrew his hand from Hu’s hospital gown and suddenly touched my breasts. He smiled and half-jokingly told me “they definitely are not fake.” Because I’d never encountered such a thing, I was just dumbfounded and felt very uncomfortable, but since he is a doctor who has seen so many beautiful women, and since the other girls did not react at all, I thought I was just imagining it.”
“I was all alone in that hospital, without my family or friends, and I would be the next one on the operation table.”
The girl then goes on to tell that before the operation, Dr. Yu Dong also made pictures of her in a small separate room without windows, where he again touched her breasts while making small-talk. “At this point,” she writes: “He must have thought I was very naive and he said he wanted my WeChat and my number to contact me.”
In a text message, the doctor then told Tutu to come to his office. “I thought it was to discuss my surgery,” Tutu writes. She describes how, once in his office, the doctor held her in a strong embrace. Tutu writes:
“My mind was muddled, and before I could respond he had already locked the office, pinned me to the bed and had sex with me. It all happened within seconds and afterward Dr. Yu Dong quickly got up, pulled up his pants and told me he was being too crazy and begged me not to say, that he had never done this before and just really liked me. (..) He told me my surgery would be okay. To me, it was all a blur and happened so fast. I was all alone in that hospital, without my family or friends, and I would be the next one on the operation table. I was afraid to offend him out of fear it would affect my operation – I admit I was also at fault for attaching so much importance to my appearances – but I had saved up for so long and had already paid, this operation was something I’d dreamed about for so long. I did not think about how bad I actually felt and was afraid to tell anyone. In a complete daze, I got on the operation table.”
Tutu goes on and describes the period after the operation:
“Within three days after the surgery, the hospital urged me to leave because of a shortage of beds. I had lost a lot of blood during my operation and my face was still very swollen and very painful. Unfortunately, I started getting a fever and after a week the swelling only got more serious. I did not want to face Dr. Yu Dong again and wanted to avoid his medical treatment. So I went to find the surgery assistant Dr. Xu Liang (徐梁), who gave me medication through IV but it didn’t help. The doctor told me he had never seen anything like this, and that I should go and see the main doctor Yu Dong to have it checked out.”
With Tutu’s fever getting higher, and the pain getting worse, she went back to Dr. Yu Dong, who used a needle to puncture her cheek to let out the fluids. When the situation only got worse, he had her hospitalized to clean out her surgical wounds.
“This whole affair has brought tremendous injuries to my body and soul. The pain in my chin reminds me that there is no way to escape this nightmare.”
In her blog post, Tutu described that during her second hospitalization she was crying with pain, had not eaten proper food for over two weeks, was weakened and dizzy. When she went for her appointment with Dr. Yu Dong, he had sex with her again:
“He suddenly locked the door, barbarously pushed my head against the office desk, tore my clothes and entered me. I was weak and light-headed, and could not even speak because of the tube in my mouth (…) After it had happened, he repeatedly warned me not to speak out about it and said that the expenses of my second hospitalization would not be charged. (..) I felt horrible, but I was in bad shape and had no money left. Being a girl from a simple background all alone in Shanghai, I was also afraid to offend a man with the position of associate professor of a top hospital, and thought nobody would probably believe me.”
Tutu’s account continues, as her wounds do not get better and she needs her stitches to be removed. When she returns to Dr. Yu Dong to be helped, she writes that he tells her he can only help her if she satisfies his needs and forces her to receive oral rape.
Six months after the operation, Tutu still suffers from intolerable pains and feels as if there are holes in her chin. Although Dr. Yu tells her there is no problem, a new facial scan points out her chin has broken bones and two big holes. Tutu also shared her CT scan on Weibo (see image).
Tutu writes that it was not until the day of her CT scan that she discovered the doctor had actually performed a V-Line operation on her – a controversial surgery where the jaw is cut in a V-shape that is not even allowed to be performed in many hospitals.
With no relevant department to turn to within the hospital, and Dr. Yu having blocked her out as a patient, Tutu decided to share her story on social media:
“This whole affair has brought tremendous injuries to my body and soul. I cannot sleep and every time the pain in my chin reminds me that there is no way to escape this nightmare. I’ve thought about suicide countless times. I’ve sought medical help everywhere, but this cannot be fixed, it’s an irreversible damage. My pain goes with me everywhere, I can no longer go out with my friends, although I should just be able to live a happy life like other young girls. I don’t want to be weak anymore, I want to get my story out there. I know I will receive a lot of backlash, but I have to share this to make sure other girls won’t end up in the same nightmare.”
“Dr. Yu Dong is evil and has no medical ethics.”
The Weibo post includes screenshots of WeChat conversations between ‘Tutu’ and Dr. Yu, hospital bills, CT scans, and screenshots of social media posts by other women who say they have become a victim of Dr. Yu’s malpractices.
Tutu’s revelations have stirred up much controversy on Weibo and WeChat, with many netizens supporting her and expressing their anger. “How can such a bastard become a doctor anyway?”, many people wonder.
Despite the support, there are also many people who doubt Tutu’s story for lack of evidence of the sexual assaults. Although there are many other women claiming they also had sex with Dr. Yu, some people wonder if it could be considered rape. “He is a doctor who had sexual relations with his patients,” one netizen responds: “Either way, his medical ethics are flawed.”
Other people have also come forward on Chinese social media with stories about the Shanghai Ninth Hospital malpractices. “I don’t know if this story is true or not, but I do know this hospital has many dirty practices,” one netizen says, sharing her own bad experiences with the hospital staff. Another netizen says: “I had a nose job in this hospital in June, and it completely failed. My nose is crooked.”
“I had my eyelids done by Dr. Yu Dong, and he was terribly impatient. It was the first time I had ever had a surgery and I was so scared, but he never consoled me and only ridiculed me. (..) Although I did not experience the same problems as the author after the operation, I do feel like Dr. Yu Dong is evil and has no medical ethics,” netizen ‘Daix‘ writes.
The Shanghai’s Ninth People’s Hospital released a statement through its official Weibo page on Sunday. The hospital has set up a research team to investigate the case, the post says, and will take legal measures depending on the outcome of the investigative report.
“You knew about this long before,” one netizen writes: “But you did not take any action until this case blew up. This is just no good.”
In the meantime. Dr. Yu’s wife has also come forward on Weibo. She has stated that her husband denies all allegations, and that she will stand by him.
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Exam Room For HIV-positive Students Sparks Social Media Storm in China
For the first time ever in China, HIV-positive students will take the national college exams in a separate examination room at a special school in Linfen, Shanxi. News of the segregated exam site has triggered intense debate among Weibo netizens over the past few days.
Linfen Red-Ribbon School, the only special school for HIV-infected children in China, sparked a social media storm in early June when Shanxi Daily reported that its students would take their national exams in a special exam room, instead of taking it at the standard local exam site together with other students.
The Red Ribbon School was established in December of 2011, and has since been included in the national education system. The Institute offers free food, dorms, medical services, and psychological treatment for its 33 students, who come from all over China.
China’s national college exam, better known as the gaokao (高考), is the National Higher Entrance Examination. For most students, it is the most important exam of their life.
The Red Ribbon School received official authorization to let 16 of its students take the national exam within the school premises. The students have lived and studied at the Institute since 2004. All prerequisites for the official exam, including CCTV and surveillance equipment, have now been installed in two designated gaokao rooms. There are separate rooms for candidates in liberal arts and science.
The idea for the special exam site was originally suggested by Guo Xiaoping, the school’s headmaster. People with HIV often still face severe stigma and discrimination in China. “It is unrealistic to prevent all discrimination in modern-day society,” Guo said in an interview with the Shanxi Daily: “Some people might object to taking tests together with our students. It was my proposal to set up a separate place for them, and it was then approved by the education and exam council. The establishment of this examination site is of major significance.”
But not all netizens agreed on the helpfulness of separate exam rooms, and it triggered wider debates on the existence of the school itself. One Chinese web user objected: “’Red-Ribbon school’? Giving the school this name is like screaming from the rooftops ‘these kids are sick!’ This institution is unprecedentedly wicked rather than meaningful.”
Another person ridiculed the exam arrangements, pointing out that it reinforced discrimination instead of eliminating it.
There are also many people who approve of the school; but also because they are worried about their own ‘safety.’ On the Weibo page of Chinanews, the comment that received the most ‘likes’ explained a concerned parent’s perspective: “Would you feel safe knowing your kid is playing with those HIV-positive children? They are so little and don’t know how to protect themselves. Something might happen that leads to contact with blood.”
“I bet that half of the comments here are just out of political correctness. To be honest, I don’t want to live with HIV-students in the same college because I’m afraid that I might have some dangerous physical contact with them without even knowing it.”
There are also Weibo commenters who support headmaster Guo Xiaoping. “He’s a great man who quit his job as the president of the Linfen People’s Hospital to devote himself to building this school to help HIV-infected kids receive a proper education. It is really unfair to talk badly about such a kind old man and these poor children.”
In 2014, over half a million (501,000) of China’s population were reportedly living with HIV. Although the number of HIV cases is relatively low in China, this has also intensified existing stigmas and fear (see this 2009 study on stigma and discrimination among people with HIV in low HIV-prevalence contexts).
HIV-infected children in China are often forced to drop out of school because of poverty, discrimination, and poor health. In 2014, the 8-year-old HIV-infected Kunkun made headlines when he was banished from his village for the ‘safety’ of his neighbors. He later found a new home at the Red Ribbon school.
Sixth Tone recently reported that many workers with Chinese Hepatitis B seek body doubles to pass health checks in the workplace to avoid discrimination. Similar practices also occur with HIV carriers. Taboos surrounding the disease are so strong that some Chinese doctors still fear treating HIV/Aids patients, despite anti-discrimination rules.
Looking at the many comments on Chinese social media about the facts and falsehoods about HIV/Aids, it is clear that there is still a long road ahead for HIV awareness in China – especially because sexual education is still a controversial topic.
Through an open letter online, one of the students of the Red Ribbon School also gave their view and final say on the matter. They wrote: “I just want to go to college, achieve my dreams and pay back those who love me. The nearer the gaokao is, the heavier my heart feels. So many questions have been troubling me: whether I will be accepted to a university, if the teachers will accept me as a normal student, and whether my classmates will study and live with me.”
The students of the Red Ribbon Schools will be taking their exams on June 7 and 8. One 19-year-old Weibo netizen wishes the students the best: “As a Linfen resident, this moves me to tears, and I am proud of Linfen. All these keyboard warriors need to shut up and stop discriminating. You can’t deprive these students of their rights. I wish them all the good luck for their exams!”
Additional editing by Manya Koetse
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Another Hospital Scandal: Nanchang Doctor Asks Woman for More Money during Abortion
A news story about a doctor forcing her patient into paying more money during an abortion procedure has sparked anger on Chinese social media about illegal practices at Chinese hospitals.
A second-year female student named Xiao Chen (小陈) from Nanchang became a much-discussed topic on Weibo on April 11 when she told journalists about her traumatic experience while she was undergoing an abortion at a Nanchang hospital (南昌建设医院).
During the surgery, the doctor asked her to pay more money to undergo another procedure. When she declined, the doctor moved the medical instrument inside her, causing excruciating pain that did not stop until the girl agreed to pay for the second procedure.
“I had only come in for the abortion and did not understand why I would have to undergo another procedure,” the young woman told Pear News. Xiao Chen paid 2800 RMB (±405US$) for the abortion.
The doctor allegedly told the girl she had cervical erosion and that she needed a second procedure for that, costing an additional 4000 RMB (±580US$). The college student told the media that she could not afford that amount of money and that she initially declined and told the doctor to stop the surgery altogether, but that the doctor hurt her until she agreed to go forwards.
When journalists went to interview the doctor, she denied the incident occurred and offered them a red envelope with money to keep the story out of the press. The envelope was declined by the journalists, who included the bribery incident in their report.
On Weibo, the report ignited a storm of criticism; but the discussion soon derailed with netizens discussing the fact that the girl had an abortion in the first place. “This is not about her having an abortion, it’s her life, this is about the hospital using these kind of violent measures to force people into agreeing for a procedure,” one person said.
“This doctor should be forced and never allowed to practice a medical profession again,” a typical comment read.
Hospital scandals frequently become trending topics on Chinese social media. In late 2016, the personal account of a young woman’s horrific plastic surgery experience, during which she was sexually molested by a doctor in Shanghai’s Ninth People’s Hospital, also went viral on Chinese social media.
On the website of Nanchang hospital its abortions are promoted as being “painless” (see featured image).
“This girl is really brave for coming out about what happened to her,” one person writes: “She needs to stand up for her rights.”
According to the People’s Daily, the hospital has promised to compensate the young woman for what has happened.
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