Blood supply hits warning levels in various localities across China due to low temperature, surge in respiratory diseases

Due to continuous rain and snow combined with drastic temperature drops, and a peak in respiratory diseases, the number of blood donors has significantly decreased in multiple cities across China, posing a challenge for blood banks in ensuring sufficient blood supply in a number of localities. 

The central blood station in Yuncheng, North China's Shanxi Province, which accommodates more than 4.7 million people, issued an appeal on Friday calling on residents aged between 18 and 55 to actively donate blood, as the city needs at least 220 voluntary blood donations per day to meet basic clinical demand. 

The appeal noted that because of the recent rainy and snowy weather, as well as the high incidence of respiratory diseases, the number of blood donations in the city has significantly dropped and many blood banks are facing emergency levels when it comes to blood supplies.  

Yuncheng is not alone in facing a shortfall in blood donors. The Global Times reached the central blood stations in Wuxi, East China's Jiangsu Province, as well as Ningbo in East China's Zhejiang Province, on Monday and both confirmed that local blood banks are experiencing a shortage of inventory.

The Wuxi blood station told the Global Times that due to the current shortage, hospitals are implementing blood control measures to ensure proper distribution.

The central blood station in Weifang, a city in East China's Shandong Province, is also under pressure. It too has appealed to the public, saying that it needs a minimum of 400 blood donations per day to meet clinical demand, including for patients suffering from traumatic bleeding, postpartum hemorrhages, burns, surgical procedures and other situations. 

Winter is the peak season for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, which leads to a surge in clinical demand for blood. Another populous city in China, Xinxiang in Central China's Henan Province, called for urgent support after the city's blood inventory fell below a designated warning line, which local officials said severely impacts the ability to provide proper medical treatment to clinical patients and poses a threat to public health.

Based on media reports, at least six other localities across China have issued similar notices to call attention to the issue. 

To cope with the situation, various localities have come up with a number of promotional activities to attract voluntary donors. The Shanghai central blood station told the Global Times on Monday that it has introduced different kinds of promotions on its WeChat account and official website, and is offering volunteer certificates as well as medals to encourage the good deed. 

Since 1998, when the Law of the People's Republic of China on Blood Donation was officially implemented, the number of voluntary blood donations has continuously increased for over 20 years, according to data from the National Health Commission.

The number of voluntary blood donations nationwide has increased by roughly 47 times, from 328,000 in 1998 to more than 15 million in 2020. The blood donation rate per thousand people has also increased from 4.8 in 1998 to 11.1 in 2020.

A WHO global blood safety report shows that China ranks among the top in the world in terms of voluntary blood donations, blood safety and clinical blood use.

However, there is still a persistent shortage of blood in China. For one thing, although the blood donation rate has been on the rise year by year, it is still relatively low compared to developed countries, which stands approximately at 33 per thousand. On the other hand, there has been a fast growing need for blood across China, which has led to a widening gap between supply and demand, according to media reports.

Against this backdrop, a number of institutions have sought to turn what was originally supposed to be a voluntary act of public welfare into a compulsory requirements, which sparked huge controversy among the Chinese public.

According to media reports, a school in Jinhua, East China's Zhejiang Province, recently issued a notice stating that non-local residents wishing to enroll their children in local primary schools must adhere to a points-based system. Apart from accumulating higher points based on the duration of residency, they can also gain points through voluntary blood donations. Each 100ml donation earns 2 points, with a maximum of 30 points achievable through blood donation. 

The decision to include blood donations as a criterion for "entry points" into schools has triggered controversy, with many arguing that this approach lacks rationale, turning voluntary blood donation into a utilitarian tool. Moreover, it pressures non-local residents to donate blood for their children's schooling, disregarding that not everyone is suitable to give blood.

Dates for 2024 Global Times Annual Conference confirmed, to be themed on how Chinese modernization will cope with changes unseen in a century

Looking back at the year that is about to pass, everyone has developed a deeper understanding of the major assertion that "the world is experiencing a transformation unseen in a century, and it is accelerating."

Throughout 2023, the international security situation remains severe, with the Ukraine crisis still unresolved and renewed conflict between Israel and Palestine. The global economy is on a post-pandemic  path to recovery, but the pace remains slow and uneven, combating inflation remains a top priority for many economies; issues like climate change, artificial intelligence, and the food crisis continue to call for global unity and collaboration. However, notions such as "decoupling" and "de-risk" keep adding risks of division to the international order.

Faced with the turbulent, rapidly evolving global situation, and the profound questions of where humanity is headed historically, globally, and through the ages, China has presented its answer through the concept of Chinese modernization. 

China has achieved its first centennial goal and is marching toward building a great modern socialist country, fulfilling its second centennial goal. Chinese modernization encapsulates both the summary of historical success and has become the "keyword" for the comprehensive promotion of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation in the new era.

In an era filled with both challenges and opportunities, Chinese modernization will become a key to understanding the interaction between China and the world. On December 23, the 2024 Global Times Annual Conference will take place, themed under the topic: "Following the Path of Chinese Modernization: Coping with Changes Unseen in a century." 

Over a hundred authoritative figures, experts, and scholars from politics, academia, and business sectors both domestically and internationally will gather to offer insights and have intellectual exchanges on four major topics: "Population, Industry, and Market: The Underlying Logic of Chinese Modernization," "Development, Security, and Civilization: The Global Outlook of Chinese Modernization," "Conflict, Competition, and Cooperation: The External Environment of Chinese Modernization," and "Innovation, Technology, and Humanities: The Future Vision of Chinese Modernization." During the conference, the Global Times Research Center will also release the results of the 2023 Global Poll.

On December 24, the conference will host a sub-forum on "Following the Path of Chinese Modernization: Endeavoring to Ensure Good Health for All" under the Global Life and Health Forum. Senior government health officials, senior medical practitioners, and authoritative scholars will engage in discussions on two major topics: "Heritage, Innovation, and Integration: The Chinese Wisdom in Traditional Medicine" and "Co-Existence with Nature and Nurturing Wellness: The Chinese Vision for a Better Life." Additionally, a themed forum on "China's Practice in Ensuring Mental Health for Everyone" will be organized.

Productive diversion

A water diversion project in Sihong, East China's Jiangsu Province is seen on December 12, 2023. China's South-to-North Water Diversion Project has transferred over 67 billion cubic meters of water to the country's arid northern areas over the past nine years, official data showed. Photo: cnsphoto

Team China takes lead

The Chinese delegation established a strong presence at the Chengdu Universiade over the weekend, as they bagged nine gold medals on Sunday, Day 2 of the tournament, allowing China to take the top spot on the medal table with a total of 13 golds. 

In rhythmic gymnastics, China won the team all-around by 0.55 points in a nail-biting competition. But besides their achievement, team member Li Huilin credited the audience for boosting the team's performance.

"I was quite excited when I was on the field during the competition. The audience was very enthusiastic, and I could feel their energy," Li told reporters. "I really love this place."

In archery, China defeated France to win gold at the compound men's team event. After a close final, China outlasted South Korea 5-4 to clinch the recurve women's team gold. 

Compound men's team gold medalist Du Meiyu from Tongji University, who often clapped with other teammates during the race, shared their secret to success with the Global Times on Sunday.

"We clapped to encourage ourselves, because whatever the results may be, we were trying our best to restart in the next round," Du told the Global Times, attributing the win to group efforts rather than individual ones.

Du's teammate Chen Yangsong from the Shangdong Vocational College of Industry pointed out that the main factor in their victory was their consistent play throughout the match.

"The state we strive to achieve is to shoot an arrow and forget about the outcome of the ring score, always focusing on the arrow we are about to shoot in our hands," he said. 

"We come from different regions and different schools… The biggest thing we gained was the unity and cohesion between each other, including the cooperation with our coaches and the bonding between teammates," Chen told the Global Times.

The main goal of the Chinese archery team in the compound bow is to compete for the gold medal in the men's and women's team event, Zhang Bo, leader of the Chinese archery team for the Chengdu FISU Games, told reporters.

"We have made extensive preparations in terms of athletes' mind-set and tactical training during our short period of training," Zhang told the Global Times. 

"Our athletes cooperated with each other to guide our technical movements and encouraged one another, achieving a collective strength that surpasses our individual abilities."

Zhang said the Chinese archery team's gold medal harvest in the team event is also playing a positive role in the further promotion of archery among Chinese university students. 

"It's like a seed planted inside the college student population, so that everyone can see that an ordinary student can ascend to the highest podium of the world's college athletics through their own efforts."

In Zhang's view, the Chengdu FISU Games are not only an arena for athletes to strive for a podium finish, but also an occasion for university students from all over the world to communicate with each other. 

"We can see athletes from different countries often observe each other's equipment brands during training sessions. They then engage in lively conversations, sharing their experiences and insights during meals and breaks. This creates a vibrant atmosphere of camaraderie," Zhang said.

In the wushu dicipline, Cao Maoyuan, who won the Chinese delegation's first gold at the Universiade, continued his hot form to clinch his second gold in the men's Nangun. Meanwhile, following Cao's victory in Taijiquan, compatriot Chen Xiaoli also pocketed her second gold of the Games by winning the women's Taijijian. Jin Zhedian won the men's Daoshu gold. 

In shooting, Liu Yukun, Wang Yuefeng and Li Xinmiao claimed the 50m rifle 3 positions men's team gold. Xia Qi, Duan Zhicheng and Liu Shuai bagged gold at the 25m rapid fire pistol men's team event.

The FISU Games are scheduled to end on August 8.