Zhang Chuanqiu, the 28-year-old Chinese man whose flesh grew over his chains after having been shackled in an illegal Hunan prison, has been saved by a generous donation from a British media charity, according to reports.
Journalism Without Borders, a charity set up last year 2010 by the National Association of Press Agencies (NAPA), donated funding to save the hand of the tormented Zhang, after his story made international headlines, the Austrian Times is reporting. Zhang had been chained to a cowshed in Hunan, southern China, in 2005 after falling out with village officials over a loan to build his house. But the shackles had been so agonizingly tight that Zhang's own flesh began to absorb them.
As Zhang tells the Austrian Times:
"I was free but still in constant pain, my wounds were always inflamed and oozing pus all the time. We had no money but then a local paper did a story and then I was contacted by the British charity - that sent over the money to pay for the operation at the end of last year."
Despite international media attention, chief fundraiser Hannes Urban said a mere 16 people were motivated to donate money to Zhang's cause, but that was enough to pay for his medical care. "We will continue to monitor this case although the operation has now taken place," he added. "If anything else is provided, we will make sure we use it to help him rebuild his life. But the main thing is the operation was a success -- and for that, we thank those who were motivated to send us the money to make a difference."