09/30/2014, 00.00

Need a driver's license, donate a pint of blood to the state

In the city of Baoji, new regulations impose a "voluntary donation" of blood for municipal services. Soldiers and university students are urged to donate at least once a year. People react online. For one netizen, "donations should be voluntary". Others tell the authorities to remember country's health scandals.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - New regulations in a city in Shaanxi Province, due to come into effect next week, "urge" first-year college students and serving soldiers to donate blood at least once a year to the state.

Residents who want a driver's licence, a school graduation certificate, first job or marriage licences in Baoji registry offices "should all give a voluntary donation as a contribution to society".

The details published on Baoji's official account on platform Weibo (China's foremost microblogging) are enough to cause outrage among thousands of social media users, who have little doubt that the drive will put citizens under strong moral pressure to comply.

Qing Baoyi Jiulan's reaction is typical, saying that "donations should be voluntary, and tying it to behaviour or morality is unethical".

For Lu Mumu, the city should "give more consideration to how convenient it is to donate blood, and where the blood is used" than to thinking up new rules.

The reference here is to the many health scandals that have hit China in the past two decades.

In the 1990s, several public dispensaries in Henan Province (then ruled by current Prime Minister Li Keqiang) began buying and selling blood, taking advantage of many poor farmers.

The lack of hygiene during transfusions led to the spread of the HIV/AIDS virus in many parts of the country.

Eventually, Li tried every form of censorship and repression to prevent the truth from coming out, NGOs reported.

The city of Baoji is not alone in undertaking this kind of campaign. However, Pujiang County in Zheijang Province has taken a different approach

According to the Qianjiang Evening News, instead of "urging" people to donate, it is offering incentives, namely bonus points in high-school entrance exams for the children of families who make generous blood donations.

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