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    Catwalk Tragedy: Russian Teen Model Presumably Dies From 'Exhaustion' in China

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    The cause of death of a 14-year-old Russian model who died in a Shanghai hospital on Friday was multiple organ dysfunction syndrome amid blood poisoning and neurological infection, a source in the Russian consulate in Shanghai told Sputnik.

    Consul Andrei Kulikov said that a conclusive diagnosis is yet to be established because an autopsy is required.

    "The mother of the girl is in Russia and an autopsy cannot be done without her consent. When she comes [to China] we will consider the possibility of an autopsy to finally determine the cause of death," the official added.

    Earlier it was reported that the teen model from the Russian city of Perm died in the Rui Jin Hospital in Shanghai from meningitis exacerbated by "utter exhaustion."

    She was working on Shanghai catwalks, missing her school classes at home, on a three-month contract between China’s model agency ESEE Model Management and Russian agency Smirnoff Models.

    Before she fell into a coma last week she had told her mother by phone that she was exhausted and often complained about a lack of sleep.

    "She was calling me, saying 'Mama, I am so tired. I so much want to sleep,'" her mother told The Siberian Times. "It must have been the very beginning of the illness…. And then her temperature shot up. I didn't sleep myself and was calling her constantly, begging her to go to hospital."

    Before collapsing the girl reportedly attended a 13-hour modeling shoot. She was taken to a local hospital, but never regained consciousness and died two days after.

    According to Russian outlet The Siberian Times, despite the fact that the circumstances in which the girl died are yet to be clarified, "there can be no doubt her death was utterly appalling – and avoidable."

    Meanwhile, ESEE’s chief executive Zheng Yi told The Global Times on Sunday that her death is not related to her appearance at Shanghai Fashion Week, which ended a week before she died. Zheng also denied overemploying the young Russian model.

    "She had regular breaks while working. Most of her work was completed within eight hours. Her workload was moderate compared with other models," he said.

    It was also reported that the girl was working in Shanghai without medical insurance. Russian investigators and human rights experts are now examining the case. 

    According to China’s labor law, companies can recruit teenagers under 16 for cultural and sports events, but they have to receive permission from authorities and ensure their right for education.

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