Guangzhou victim pleads for privacy

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 May, 2009, 12:00am

A swine flu patient in Guangzhou pleaded with local media to stop digging up personal information and respect his privacy.

The patient, whose family name is Yang, was the mainland's fourth confirmed case. He contracted the virus when he visited the US this month.

Although the government only released the 59-year-old's last name and age, local newspapers have given readers a detailed profile of Mr Yang, including the name and location of his company, his public duties and why he visited the US and Canada.

'I know there is plenty of news about me, so I asked the doctors for four different newspapers every day and I also watch the news on TV,' Mr Yang told Guangzhou Daily. 'Some of the reports gave my full name and said that I am rich, and I went to Canada and the US because I needed to explore investment opportunities for immigration. My family, my friends and I receive many phone calls. I've lost all privacy.'

Mr Yang is a representative for Liwan district at the Guangzhou's People's Political Consultative Conference, and chairman of Guangdong's aquarium shop association, the reports said. He runs a business that sells pets, fish and live coral.

'His parents have passed away, he made some money over the years, and since his children have grown up, he plans to immigrate [to North America] through the investment scheme,' Xinkuaibao quoted his younger brother's daughter-in-law as saying. 'That is why he visited the US and Canada. But his children do not plan to leave, they will continue their careers on the mainland.'

The local media also found he donated 200,000 yuan (HK$228,000) to people suffering from heavy snow falls early last year and 160,000 yuan to survivors of the earthquake in Sichuan province .

Mr Yang and his wife travelled from Guangdong to Hong Kong on April 21 and flew to Canada the next day. On May 2, they left for the US and boarded a cruise ship. On May 12, they left the US for Seoul on Korean Air flight K1020. From Seoul they boarded flight K1607, arriving in Hong Kong on May 13.

They checked in to Royal Plaza Hotel in Mong Kok at about midnight on May 13, and spent two nights there. On May 15 at 4.35pm, Mr Yang took through-train T810 back to Guangzhou East Station, where he was picked up by the health authorities because he had a fever. He has since remained in Guangzhou's Eighth People's Hospital. Though he no longer suffers from fever, test results show he is not fully recovered, prompting officials to remain cautious about a discharge date.