Kazakh "Panda-man" saves Chinese lives with rare blood type

Jul. 11, 2018 10:15:48

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Photo taken on May 22, 2018 shows Ruslan donating blood at the Beijing Red Cross Blood Center. Photo released by Xinhua 

By Ma Yan, Cao Bin

Ruslan Tulenov, 26, from Kazakhstan, is nicknamed "Panda-man," not only because of his rare Rh-negative blood type, dubbed "panda blood," but also because of his frequent blood donation.

Over the past nine years studying in China, he donated a total of 5,000 milliliters of blood, equivalent to the amount of blood in a grown man.

It is estimated that about 0.3 percent of Chinese people have the Rh-negative blood type. The proportion is not high, but considering the country's large population -- around 4 million people are born with the rare blood type.

Inspired by the classic Chinese tale "Journey to the West" and Chinese Kung Fu films, Tulenov became interested in Chinese culture when he was a child.

In 2009, with great curiosity, Tulenov came to study in China's island province of Hainan. He attended a language program for two years before going to Hainan University to study business administration.

One day in 2009, Tulenov saw many students queuing up in front of a medical vehicle. After finding out they were donating blood, he immediately decided to sign up as well. Since then, donating blood has become part of his routine.

"My mother taught me to be kind and helpful to others when I was a child. I believe love is universal. If my blood can help more people in need, regardless of their nationalities or ethnicities, I feel comfortable at heart," he said.

To his great surprise, Chinese President Xi Jinping praised Tulenov for his selfless blood donation during his speech at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan on Sept. 7, 2013.

"I was just watching a live broadcast on TV. When I heard my name, I could hardly believe my ears," said Tulenov. "I thought blood donation was nothing more than a petty thing and never thought it could catch the attention of the Chinese president."

In 2015, he was admitted to the University of Science and Technology Beijing for a master's degree of management science and engineering. Although now in a new city, Tulenov kept his old habits.

In Beijing, he joined a volunteer organization for people with Rh-negative blood. Whenever a patient needs a transfusion of the rare blood type, the information will be sent to the organizations' WeChat groups so the nearest volunteer can offer help.

Last December, a pregnant woman in Langfang, a small city neighbouring Beijing, was in serious condition. Upon receiving the message, Tulenov rushed to the city. Thanks to his blood, the woman was saved and gave birth to a pair of healthy twins.

In Hainan University, Tulenov met Gerel, a girl from Mongolia. They fell in love, got married and had their daughter Sofia in 2016.

"My daughter now can speak a little Chinese, English, Russian, Mongolian and Kazakh. She is an embodiment of multi-ethnic culture," said Tulenov, proudly.

He has just finished his master's degree and is now looking for a job in China. "China has become a part of my life. I hope to work and live here, so I can continue to make contributions to China-Kazakhstan friendship," he said. (BEIJING 2018-07-10 16:05:52)

Editor: Miao Hong

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