Dying To Survive

This is a movie based on a true story. Cheng Yong was accused of smuggling fake leukemia medicine from India and was sentenced to 5 years in prison. If you stop reading here, you might think he was a notorious criminal who risked patients’ lives for his own benefit. BUT while Cheng Yong was in his car on his way to prison, hundreds of patients stood by watching him pass. Their eyes were not filled with hatred. Conversely, they were looking at him gratefully that Cheng Yong had saved their lives.

So, is this a hero story? Well, I doubt it. I’d rather say it’s just a story of a normal person dealing with abnormal circumstances.

chéngyǒng shì yígè   pǔtōng de xiǎodiàn lǎobǎn.
      程勇       是   一个   普通   的        小店   老板 。 
tā de xiǎodiàn shēngyì hěn chà, tā lián fángzū dōu fùbùqǐ,
他 的     小店        生意     很  差 , 他 连    房租    都  付不起 , 
érqiě shēngbìng de fùqīn xūyào hěnduōqián zuò shǒushù.
  而且      生病      的   父亲 需要         很多钱       做   手术 。 
chéngyǒng fēicháng xūyào qián, dànshì tā méiyǒubànfǎ.
     程勇           非常        需要   钱 , 但是   他   没有办法 。 
yǒu yìtiān, yígè mànlìbáixuèbìng huànzhě lái zhǎo tā.
有 一天 , 一个       慢粒白血病           患者    来   找   他 。

Cheng is a normal business owner of a small store.

His business is very slow, he can’t even afford the rent,

and his sick father needs a lot of money for an operation.

Cheng is in desperate need of money, but he doesn’t have a way yet.

One day, a leukemia patient comes looking for him.

wǒmen jiù jiào tā lǎolǚ ba.
   我们    就 叫    他 老吕 吧 。 
lǎolǚ lái zhǎo tā bāngmáng
 老吕  来   找    他   帮忙 
cóng yìndù mǎi yìzhǒng zhìliáo màn lì báixuèbìng de yào.
   从     印度  买      一种      治疗     慢   粒      白血病 的 药 。 
zhèzhǒng yào yuánlái shìzài déguó kāifā de,
      这种     药      原来     是在   德国   开发 的 , 
yìndù de yìjiā gōngchǎng fǎngzhì le tā.
   印度  的 一家         工厂      仿制  了 它 。 
zài zhōngguó,  déguó de zhèngbǎn yào yì píng 37000($ 5692),
在        中国 ,    德国 的      正版       药   一 瓶 ¥ 37000 ( $ 5692 ) , 
yìndù de dàobǎn zhǐ mài 2000($ 307).
  印度 的     盗版     只  卖 ¥ 2000 ( $ 307 ) 。

Let’s call him Lu.

Lu comes to ask for help from Cheng,

he wants Cheng to buy him medicine from India that cures leukemia.

This kind of medicine was originally developed in German,

and a factory in India copied it.

In China, the authentic Germany medicine is ¥37000 ($5692) per bottle,

but pirated medicine from India only sells ¥2000($307).

liǎng zhǒng yào de yàoxiào wánquán yíyàng,
   两      种      药   的     药效      完全       一样 , 
dànshì yīnwèi yìndù yào méiyǒu zhuānlì,
   但是      因为   印度  药        没有   专利 , 
suǒyǐ zài guónèi mài yìndù yào shì fànfǎ de.
  所以  在     国内   卖     印度  药  是   犯法 的 。 
màn lì báixuèbìng huànzhě xūyào zhōngshēn fúyòng zhèzhǒng yào.
  慢   粒      白血病       患者     需要         终身         服用        这种     药 。 
kěshì hěnduō rén mǎibùqǐ zhèngbǎn yào,
   可是     很多   人    买不起        正版    药 , 
yòu mǎi búdào yìndù de dàobǎn yào, jiù zhǐnéng děng sǐ.
  又   买    不到     印度 的      盗版   药 , 就   只能      等  死 。

These two medicines have the exact same effect,

but because India’s drug doesn’t have a patent,

selling India’s drug domestically is illegal.

Leukemia patients need to take this medicine for their entire lives.

But since many people couldn’t afford authentic medicine,

and also couldn’t buy India’s pirated one, they could do nothing but wait to die.

chéngyǒng fēicháng xūyào qián, suǒyǐ dāying le zǒusī yìndù de dàobǎn yào.
       程勇         非常        需要   钱 , 所以   答应 了  走私   印度   的    盗版  药 。 
chéngyǒng hé lǎolǚ zhǎo le qítā sān gèrén yìqǐ kāishǐ zuò zǒusī.
        程勇     和   老吕  找 了   其他 三  个人  一起  开始   做  走私 。 
tāmende shēngyì hěnhǎo, chéngyǒng zhuàn le hěnduōqián,
    他们的      生意    很好 ,      程勇           赚   了     很多钱 , 
lǎolǚ hé qítā huànzhě yě yǒu yào zhìbìng le.
老吕  和   其他    患者   也  有   药       治病 了 。

Cheng was desperate for money, so he agreed to smuggle India’s pirated medicine.

Cheng and Lu recruited three other people to begin the smuggling process.

Their business ran pretty well, Cheng made plenty of money,

and Lu and other patients also had access to these medicines as a cure.

zhídào yǒu yìtiān, lìng yígè jiǎyào fànzǐ
直到     有 一天 , 另   一个 假药   贩子
ràng chéngyǒng gàosu tā zhìzuò dàobǎn yào de gōngchǎng,
让          程勇       告诉  他    制作      盗版  药   的      工厂 ,
hái wēixié tā rúguǒ bùshuō, tā jiù qù bàojǐng.
还      威胁  他  如果   不说 , 他 就   去 报警 。
chéngyǒng bùxiǎng zài zuò zǒusī le,
程勇           不想   再   做   走私 了 ,
jiù bǎ gōngchǎng gàosu le jiǎyào fànzǐ,
就  把         工厂       告诉 了  假药   贩子 ,
zìjǐ cóngcǐ jīnpénxǐshǒu le.
自己 从此        金盆洗手  了 。

Until one day, another dealer selling fake medicine

asked Cheng to tell him about the pirated medicine factory,

and threatened Cheng that if he didn’t, he would call the police.

Cheng didn’t want to continue smuggling,

so he told the other dealer about the medicine factory,

and from then on, he washed his hands of it.

yì nián zhīhòu, lǎolǚ de qīzi  lái zhǎo tā,
一  年     之后 , 老吕 的 妻子 来  找   他 , 
qiú tā jiùjiù zhàngfu.
 求  他  救救   丈夫 。 
yuánlái, nàge jiǎyào fànzǐ dédào dàobǎn yào gōngchǎng zhīhòu
   原来 ,那个  假药   贩子    得到     盗版   药         工厂      之后 
búdàn bǎ yào de jiàqian táigāo dào yì píng 20000($ 3076),
  不但   把  药  的    价钱     抬高    到 一 瓶 ¥ 20000 ( $ 3076 ) , 
érqiě hái ná zhe huànzhě de qián pǎo le.
 而且  还   拿 着       患者    的    钱   跑 了 。 
lǎolǚ yīnwèi bùnéng jìxù chīyào, bìng dé yuèlái yuèzhòng.
  老吕   因为     不能   继续 吃药 , 病    得    越来    越重 。

1 year later, Lu’s wife came to him,

begging for his help to save her husband.

It turned out that the other medicine dealer, after acquiring the pirated medicine factory,

not only increased the price to ¥20000($3076) per bottle,

but also ran away with the patients’ money.

Lu couldn’t take the medicine anymore, and became more and more sick.

 

hòulái lǎolǚ bùxiǎng ràng jiārén shòukǔ, xuǎnzé le zìshā.
  后来   老吕     不想      让      家人   受苦 ,   选择 了 自杀 。 
chéngyǒng búzài rěnxīn kàndào zhèmeduō bìngrén shòukǔ le,
       程勇      不再     忍心     看到        这么多       病人      受苦 了 , 
juédìng chóngxīn zǒusī dàobǎn yào,
     决定      重新      走私     盗版   药 , 
bìngqiě yì píng yào zhǐ mài 500($ 76).
    并且   一  瓶     药  只  卖 ¥ 500 ( $ 76 ) 。
jǐngchá men dédào xiāoxi, zhǎodào le mǎi dàobǎn yào de huànzhě men,
   警察      们    得到    消息 , 找到    了 买        盗版    药  的       患者   们 , 
ràng tāmen shuōchū nàge zǒusīfàn.
   让     他们     说出     那个   走私犯 。 

Later, because Lu didn’t want his family to suffer, he chose to commit suicide.

Cheng could not bear to see this many patients suffer anymore,

so he decided to start smuggling pirated medicine again,

and sell each bottle for only ¥500($76).

The police heard about it, and they found patients who bought the pirated medicine,

and asked them about the smuggler.

qízhōng de yígè lǎorén què gēn jǐngchá shuō:
   其中    的  一个   老  人 却   跟      警察     说 : 
nǐmen bǎ tā zhuāzǒu le, wǒmen dōu dé děng sǐ.
“     你们 把 他     抓走 了 , 我们     都   得   等  死 。 
wǒ bùxiǎng sǐ, wǒ xiǎng huózhe, xíng ma?
 我   不想 死 , 我      想       活着 , 行  吗 ? ” 

An old lady among them said to the police:

“if you take him away, we will all have to wait for our impending death.

I don’t want to die, I want to live, is that ok?”

chéngyǒng zuìhòu háishi bèi zhuāzhù le,
        程勇         最后    还是  被      抓住  了 , 
tā bèi fǎtíng pàn le 5 nián yǒuqītúxíng.
他  被   法庭    判 了 5 年      有期徒刑 。 
zài chéngyǒng bèi sòngqù jiānyù de lùshang,
在         程勇      被     送去      监狱  的   路上 , 
shǔ bǎimíng bèi chéng yǒngjiù guò de huànzhě men zhàn zài jiēshang,
  数     百名     被      程       勇救     过  的       患者    们       站   在    街上 , 
jìngjìng de kànzhe yāsòng chē kāi guòqù.
    静静   地    看着      押送    车  开    过去 。 
zhèjiàn shì dédào le zhōngguózhèngfǔ de gāodù guānzhù,
    这件   事   得到 了          中国政府       的   高度     关注 , 
zhèngfǔ hòulái shíshī le zhìdù gǎigé.
    政府      后来   实施 了   制度 改革 。 
bìng rénmen cóngcǐ kěyǐtōngguò yībǎo
   病       人们     从此      可以通过   医保 
gòumǎi zhèngbǎn yào le.
    购买       正版       药 了 。

Cheng still was caught in the end.

He was sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment.

Cheng was sent to prison and on the way,

hundreds of patients were standing on the street who were saved by Cheng,

silently watching the prison transporter pass by.

This case attracted a high level of attention from the Chinese government,

the government later carried out institutional reform.

From then on, patients could acquire authentic medicines through their medical insurance.

 

Cheng eventually managed to save thousands of lives through smuggling pirated medicines. So, shall we simply blame pharmaceutical companies for charging sky-high medicine costs? This movie has sparked debate about the cost of healthcare in China. What’s your opinion?

Come tell us what’s on your mind during our Saturday event.

Learn something new, mingle and have fun!

Chinese Book Club – Dying To Survive 我不是药神

Saturday, Nov 21, 2020, 7:00 PM

Online event
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1 Chinese lover Attending

Hi all, Join our book club on 11/21, Saturday night and let’s talk about this respected illegal medicine smuggler. This story has sparked debate at China, maybe we’ll have one on Saturday night too. No fight, just discuss and learn new things 😉 . As we always did, we are going to read a summary of the movie in Chinese and try to translate it…

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