Love Save Pneumoconiosis: We just want to save lives

LSP volunteers with children of pneumoconiosis patients Photo: LSP

Pneumoconiosis(尘肺病), an obscure medical word unknown to most people in the world, is an irreversible occupational disease now inflicting on over 6 million migrant workers in China, based on reliable estimates.

A majority of the group is now hovering between life and death.

Worse still, 95% of the people affected by the disease is not covered by social health insurance; that is to say, surging medical expenses have left them with no choice but face an agonizing death—people with the disease, if not given proper treatments, would finally die of asphyxia, according to a documentary produced by Love Save Pneumoconiosis(大爱清尘) (LSP), a non-governmental charitable organization initiated by well-known investigative journalist Wang keqin on June 15, 2011.

As the only charity targeted at helping the group, the LSP raised nearly 6 million in the past one year and a half, and they used the money for lung-washing surgeries on over 600 patients whose family could not afford the operation.

Last Tuesday, the reporter visited the LSP’s Beijing office. In a small apartment of barely 50 square meters inside a residential building, Wang Keqin and his team received the exclusive interview of

Wang Keqin, founder of LSP, also well-regarded as China’s No.1 investigative reporter

The 48-year-old Beijing-based journalist looks happy, radiant and energetic. He is known in the Chinese press as an acute observer and bold investigator of the dark side of the society.

“This is an urgent program. Without timely medical treatments, the patients may die any time.”

“People would like to see the smiling faces of children, so they may not care as much about these sick adults. But behind every pneumoconiosis patient, there is a family, a child expecting him to live on. These kids don’t want to lose their papa.”

“Every life is dignified and should be cherished.”

“We want to help more people, save more lives, and that’s all; to realize the goal, we would do our best, which of course, includes seeking cooperation with the government” during the interview, Wang noted when talking about his vision and ideas. However, he regretted that they are not quite welcomed by the central government and thus by the mainstream media.

The charity founder with a broad smile jokingly claimed to be a determined humanitarian. “My heart is so tender that I just could not turn my back to those in need.”

Being an intellectual maverick, Wang confessed he cares less about himself than the project he is now working on with around 1,500 volunteers. “I don’t care what would happen to me as long as the program could go well and bring hope to those 6 million families,” he also hinted it’s a constant phenomenon in China, any “individual protest”, before it could garner more public attention, would naturally be suppressed by the authorities.

“We had quite a difficult journey from the beginning till now”, he said, “But it seems the situation is getting much better.”

“The authorities have loosened their control on us these days,” said Wang. In fact, this June, they received the first allocation of 1.5 million Yuan from the Ministry of Civil Affairs, although the initial application for the grant was submitted by their superior unit, the China Social Assistance Foundation, an official charity fund.

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