A male student is suing his university in China after being expelled for having haemophilia, a non-contagious condition that impairs the blood’s ability to clot and leaves sufferers susceptible to heavy blood loss after minor injuries.
The 21-year-old journalism student, who wishes to be known as Zheng Qing, has appealed against his expulsion from the Beijing-based China Institute of Industrial Relations, asking the institution to reverse their decision.
Qing’s lawyer, Wang Qiushi, told the Global Times that the case marks China’s first case of “education discrimination over rare diseases.”
“His major requires little physical strength, so it is unlikely to affect his studies,” added Qiushi.
While Qing was expelled on 6th January, he claims that the institution had been putting pressure on him to leave since September of last year. During that month, he reportedly left military service owing to the risks involved with his condition; doctors advised him to leave university because of the possibility of a “haemorrhage at any time”.
This is not the first time the China Institute of Industrial Relations has been the subject of media interest over the controversy. In an interview with China Education Daily in December, the institution made reference to guidelines issued by the national Ministry of Education in 2003, which state that students may be refused admission if they have “serious blood diseases, and endocrine, metabolic, or rheumatic diseases.”
Qiushi, however, pointed out that the paragraph refers only to students who are unable to “finish their studies or take care of themselves”; his client is demonstrably capable of both these activities.
When approached by the Global Times on Thursday, the China Institute refused to comment.
While a lawsuit has been filed with a district court in Haidian, Beijing, whether or not it will be heard is uncertain.
China’s approach to public health issues also came under scrutiny in December, when more than 200 villagers in the Sichuan province asked authorities to “isolate” an eight-year-old with HIV. The boy was, reportedly, not allowed to go to school and was instead left playing alone in the woods.
Further questions surfaced in August of last year, when two HIV-positive passengers sued a Chinese airline for refusing to allow them to travel, and in 2013, when the Chinese government implemented a ban on HIV sufferers using public bathing facilities.
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