BEIJING, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Earlier this month, Liu Junwei posted a letter on Sina Weibo, seeking the help of the public to cover his sick mother's medical expenses.
"My mother Cui Yali suffers from multiple drug resistant tuberculosis, and I am raising money to pay 200,000 yuan (31,000 U.S. dollars) of medical bills," Liu wrote.
Liu is a science-fiction illustrator with a prestigious reputation. He has drawn countless magazine covers and illustrations, and won several prizes.
But science fiction remains a small business in China. According to Chinese sci-fi writer Han Song, most sci-fi writers in China write science fiction only in their spare time, and hardly anyone quits their job to focus on sci-fi writing.
"You are lucky if you can sell 10,000 sci-fi books in China," Han said.
Liu does not make much money from his skills either.
"Drawing is more like a hobby to me," he said. "My mother encouraged me greatly." After graduation, Liu spent 12 years drawing sci-fi pictures in Beijing.
In 2017, his mother was diagnosed with multiple drug resistant tuberculosis, an illness that is resistant to all regular medicine. Patients have to use multiple expensive and inefficient drugs with strong side-effects for years.
The complaint is not covered by medical insurance in China, and for Liu's mother, the medical expenses are expected to reach more than 400,000 yuan.
Liu was forced to put down his pen and spend all his time taking care of his mother. "There would be no point in living if I lost my mother," he said.
By the end of 2017, his family had run out of money. In despair, he turned to the internet for help.
Liu's post, with pictures of his mother, and her medical records, instantly drew public attention. By 9 a.m. Saturday, it had been forwarded more than 10,000 times and drawn thousands of comments on Weibo. Many netizens donated money and introduced him to drugs that might help.
"Stay strong, I hope you and your family can get through this difficult time," read a comment.
"I don't know you personally, but I have been supporting your work for more than a decade," wrote another. "I hope your mother gets well soon."
Just 19 hours later, Liu wrote another post on Weibo, asking the public to stop donating, because he had received far more than what he asked for: 950,000 yuan. Many of the donators were from the sci-fi circle in China, in addition to many unknown people.
Most of the money was donated via social media tools, including Weibo, WeChat and Alipay. Liu's phone was bombarded by calls and text messages from people concerned about the family's misfortune.
His mother will soon be transferred to the best hospital for treatment, Liu said.
"Thank you so much. With your help, I feel really warm in this chilly weather," he wrote on Weibo. "My mother is a lucky woman, and you have truly created a miracle for her and for our family."