A bittersweet goodbye: Chinese girl stuck in India finally left for home

Updated on Jun 13, 2020 10:30 PM IST

Remember Zhang Aixi, the Chinese citizen stuck in India for the last five months? The solo traveler finally left for home in a special rescue flight.

The young traveler, Zhang Aixi had found a home away from home at Earth Saviors Foundation in Haryana.
The young traveler, Zhang Aixi had found a home away from home at Earth Saviors Foundation in Haryana.
Hindustan Times | ByShara Ashraf Prayag

In her sojourn in India, Zhang Aixi experienced both love and hate. But of course, ones who cared for her hugely outnumbered the haters who stupidly blamed her for the Covid-19 outbreak. And they came along with her to the airport to bid her goodbye.

“I am taking back a lot of love! I will miss India! This has been a life-changing experience to see such love and compassion,” Zhang told us before leaving for China.

The young traveler had found a home away from home at Earth Saviors Foundation in Haryana. Zhang finally left for China on Monday in a special rescue flight.

Before coming to Earth Saviors Foundation, Zhang had gone through a very difficult time.

Zhang Aixi, daughter of a Chinese industrialist had come to India on a solo trip in January. She was living in a paying guest accommodation in Gurugram. As the government announced a complete lockdown to fight Covid-19, Zhang realised there was no way she could return to China. She lost her touch with her mother, and suffered a mental and emotional breakdown.

With anti-Chinese sentiments at peak, Zhang had to encounter a lot of misplaced hate. On one occasion, some miscreants chased her and mocker her by calling her ‘China Virus’.

Zhang became severely depression, and also had episodes of aggression. She could get no medical help and she was thrown out of the Gurugram PG.

The Gurugram police officials tried finding her a safe place to live but NGOs and shelters were too scared to keep her due to Covid-19 paranoia. Finally, Haryana based NGO, Earth Saviours Foundation, came ahead to provide her shelter. Ravi Kalra, founder of the NGO and his team took very good care of Zhang. She got medical treatment for her nervous breakdown and she recovered quickly in the new atmosphere. Her mental state improved drastically and the residents of the shelter run by the NGO became her family. Zhang formed a deep bond with Kalra and his team. But she terribly missed her mom and longed to meet her.

We connected Zhang to Hem Kusum, assistant professor in the Department of Chinese Language and Culture, Visva Bharti University, Santiniketan, West Bengal with whom she would happily talk for hours in her mother tongue.

Kalra was constantly in touch with the Chinese Embassy to send Zhang back to China. He arranged Zhang’s meeting with the officials to help her go back to her country.

“There were too many procedural hurdles. We lost hope many times. We are thankful to the Government of India, FRRO officers and all other concerned authorities that supported us. We somehow wanted to unite Zhang with her mom and God finally made it happen,” says Kalra.

Kalra says what goes around comes around in abundance, sooner or later, so he and his team will keep doing good. “We will never discriminate among human beings. Some people may have hated Zhang for being a Chinese, but for us, she will always be family,” he says.

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