The Boy Who Walked To School In Sub-Zero Temp Has Now Been Kicked Out Of His New School


Cover image via New York Times/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Do you remember Wang Fuman?

On a bitterly cold morning in January 2018, the eight-year-old had walked 4.5 kilometres from his home for over an hour through the -9° Celsius conditions to reach his school in Xinjie Town, Zhaotong City of Yunnan Province.

By the time he reached his class, the freezing temperatures had covered his hair, eyebrows and eyelashes with frost, making him look like a snowman.

He was famously nicknamed "ice boy" by various media organisations.

Following his determined walk to school, Fuman became an Internet sensation. The eight-year-old was hailed, paraded as the face of Chinese poverty, they called him, 'the boy with frozen hair'.

Everywhere, everyone wanted a piece of him.

His hardships moved several people who expressed a desire to help him. To say Fuman became a project for the world to save wouldn't be going overboard.

Following his story in the media, there was an influx of donations to his school and youth charities totalling at least USD330,000.

South China Morning Post published a video, taking a look at Fuman's poverty-stricken life, showing the infamous trek from his home to the school.

Extreme poverty in China

Meet “Ice Boy”, the young face of extreme poverty in China.

Posted by South China Morning Post on Thursday, 15 February 2018

A propaganda website run by the Communist Party's Political and Legislative Affairs Committee organised a trip for him to Beijing, where he got to experience the wonder of central indoor heating for the first time.

In Beijing, Fuman was taken to the People's Public Security University of China. There he met with instructors and students and learned about becoming a police officer.

All because of that one photo, which changed everything for the little boy.

Image via shanghaiist

However, his biggest 'gift' came in the form of Xinhua School in Zhaotong in southwestern Yunnan province, whose headmaster offered to take the little boy in as a boarder, free of charge

Being a boarder at the private school meant that Fuman wouldn't have to walk every day for more than an hour from his home in the remote mountain village of Zhuanshanbao to his state school anymore. It also meant better education from the more experienced and qualified teachers at his new school.

It couldn't have turned out better than this for Fuman. He was happy.

"The teachers taught better than those at Zhuanshanbao Primary School. Pupils don't talk in class and everyone is focused on studying," Fuman was quoted as saying by South China Morning Post in its report.

This 'gift' has now turned out to be a shock as Fuman has been asked to leave his new school because the school cannot handle the excessive scrutiny and attention from the authorities and media

According to a report in South China Morning Post, Fuman has been removed from his new private school because the headmaster says it cannot cope with the intense extra scrutiny from the authorities and pressures from the media.

Xinhua School's headmaster says that he offered to take the boy for free because he wanted to "do some good". However, he can no longer deal with the media attention and authorities' scrutiny that came with the boy's enrolment.

"At first, I didn't know ... but later, I found out that Fuman had been identified by the Ministry of Education as a key figure to be helped in the government's poverty alleviation efforts. There are very few such pupils in the whole Yunnan province.

"As a result, during these days of having him in my school, we received numerous requests from various levels of government departments to inspect us. Many media outlets also insisted on interviewing us. It was impossible for me to reject many of these requests.

"The school was simply unable to cope with the extra demands placed on it by Fuman's attendance. This was not what I wanted, so I had to tell Fuman's father to take the boy back to his original school," the headmaster told SCMP.

Fuman's father, who is frustrated with the school headmaster's decision, doesn't understand why his son has been kicked out

The father, who quit his previous job, to take on a new job that was offered to him following the publicity surrounding his son, has now been told by the state-owned construction engineering firm that there is no work for him at the moment.

Meanwhile, Fuman, as you can imagine, is bewildered

"I lived there and didn’t need to walk a long way to get to school. I only needed to join running exercises every morning.

"I ate better, too. Unlike at home, when my granny is busy, my sister and I need to find food for ourselves ... because we don't know how to cook, we just boil potatoes, but at Xinhua school, I ate so many different things," he told South China Morning Post.

After being told to leave his new school, the eight-year-old is now back to walking more than an hour from his home in the remote mountain village of Zhuanshanbao to his state school every day :'(

Other stories that you might find interesting on SAYS:

You may be interested in: