“The Death of a Homeless Man”

The following is a translation of this post from Tiger Temple, about the ordeal and presumed death of a homeless man in Bobai, Guangxi. This post contains disturbing images and may be NSFW.


When Ren Zi called that night from a Guangxi street, he was standing beside a vagrant. His voice choking repeatedly with sobs, he said, “Good God, how can a person die like this!” I could tell even over the phone that it was very serious. I thought that if Ren Zi was making such a long distance call to me, there could only be three reasons for it: there was no one to help on the scene, calls to the government for help had resulted in passing the buck, [or] he wanted to participate in the save public welfare activities as me. I knew Ren Zi was a “give me another pound to carry” sort of public welfare worker.

After that the story, which took place in Beijing, in Bobai Guangxi and the PSB station there, on 110 [China’s equivalent of 911], and in the Bureau of Civil Affairs, goes like this…

When I made my second call to the Bobai 110 line, I heard back three things: the police have already gone, there’s nothing wrong, and vagrants fall under the authority of the Bureau of Civil Affairs, so we have already passed it on to them, the PSB doesn’t have the money [to deal with this sort of case]. The attitude of the police officer answering the 110 line was extremely poor, to the extent that calling him “overbearing/arbitrary” would not be at all excessive.

I called the cell phone of Director Zhao of the county police force again, and his attitude was great, but I only recall one sentence he said distinctly. Talking about he and his superiors couldn’t go out and do a detailed analysis [of the situation], he said, “We can’t manage it!”

Ren Zi was making even more calls from the scene; he called 110, the local police director, the Bureau of Civil Affairs, the local media, and also me seven or eight times.

Ren Zi told me repeatedly that he had been standing there for over and hour, and hadn’t seen any of the police officers the 110 line had said they “sent out”. Of course, he didn’t know that on my end I was being told, “we sent a plainclothes officer, and when they saw there was no problem, they came back [to the station].” Actually, to see whether or not there was a problem, any onlooker just had to come and it was easy to see. So I began to wonder, could Ren Zi be lying, or exaggerating the severity of the situation? The local PSB director’s assessment of Ren Zi was even more savage [than my own], “He’s made a false report…and he’s turned off his phone, so now there’s no way to verify it.” When Ren Zi heard this, he exploded. “I have nothing to do but stand here for hours? I don’t know how to go home and enjoy myself? Nothing better to do than make fake reports?” Ren Zi really wanted to explain he’d done nothing wrong. I said, what’s the use of the two of us fighting?

Ren Zi made some more phone calls to other government offices. I have records [of the calls], in total there were over ten. There was one that was very nearly successful — Ren Zi called the Bureau of Civil Affairs, and the person who answered asked, “I’ll go check it out, do you want me to bring clothes?” As soon as Ren Zi heard this, he roared, “Someone is about to die [freeze to death] and you’re asking this?!” What he absolutely didn’t expect was the person on the other line saying “Dying? If they’re dying then you need to call 120.”

In the end, the B.C.A. person didn’t come. By the time [that became clear], Ren Zi’s voice was even more filled with sobs, and I was sighing in frustration, feeling as though I was too far away to have any effect.

Later on that night, I recorded the things Ren Zi and I had said, and recorded [evidence of] the 15 calls we’d made to the PSB, the BCA, etc., on video. Then I posted it online.

The result on the scene was that an ambulance from 120 showed up four hours later, and carried off the already-stiff homeless man.

Netizen and volunteer Ren Zi stayed by the man's side throughout the entire ordeal

On the 15th around noon, I discovered that although it had only been half a day, the video I had posted online had already been completely deleted.

On the 16th, the news came from Bobai that some friends Ren Zi entrusted to go to the hospital and discreetly ask after the vagrant were told in no uncertain terms: that person doesn’t exist, that thing never happened.

Ren Zi and I agreed, the situation could not have been good.

From the 16th on, the steps outside the People’s Hospital in Bobai are quiet. The homeless, who had been gathering there for years to spend the night, were nowhere to be seen.

According to the news, the average temperature in Bobai recently has been barely 7 degrees Celsius.

In Bobai, will there no longer be any homeless?

0 thoughts on ““The Death of a Homeless Man””

  1. Custer,

    a quote for you :



  2. Custer,

    I m not sure if you understand what I mean.

    2nd, did you notice that the 2nd picture was taken during day time ? Who took that picture ?

    then who took the 3rd picture ?


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