33-year-old “Chu Cao” or “Weeding” (锄草) was diagnosed with Hepatitis B in 1994 and has spent the past year campaigning across China to improve knowledge about the disease. In each of the 23 cities she has visited so far, she holds up a sign offering to buy dinner for whoever is willing to eat with her:
I am a Hepatitis B carrier.
I want to tell you: Hepatitis B is not a gastrointestinal disease. You will not get it by sharing meals with me or through daily contact. I am a hepatitis B surface antigen carrier. But some people still don’t dare to eat with me.
I’ll treat you to a meal, come eat with me!
I want to be able to share my meals with others.
Since beginning her campaign in April 2010, she has visited 23 cities and treated 121 people to dinner, including this last visit to Zhengzhou on April 24, where she ate with five people.
Ignorance about Hepatitis B is widespread in China, where most believe you can contract it through daily contact. Similar to those with HIV/AIDS, Hep B carriers struggle to convince those around them that they are safe.
If you’re interested in disease discrimination in China, I’d recommend watching Oscar-winning short The Blood of Yingzhou, available in parts on Youtube. It’s a tear-jerker.