For many of us the word ‘homeless’ brings to mind a very particular stereotype. Perhaps an old man with dirty skin and disheveled hair, wearing several layers of grungy clothing, standing on the street corner, begging for change. However, despite common preconceptions, it’s important to remember that people from all walks of life are pushed into homelessness.

Case in point: in China there’s a growing hype surrounding the story of a young woman who left her hometown for Beijing in search of work. Though she managed to secure a job at a restaurant, the pay was so low that she was unable to maintain a basic lifestyle, and she ended up on the streets playing guitar and singing for money.

While this story may be iconic of the economic struggles many Chinese youths currently face, there is another reason this one in particular has been gaining attention. Dubbed “The Begging Lolita” by the Chinese press, her visage is declared too beautiful and innocent for her to be homeless.

Her name has gone unreported, but she’s said to be around 18 years old. Her father passed away when she was younger, leaving behind a massive debt for her family to shoulder. Before seeking work in Beijing, she was caring for her sickly mother, while her younger brother’s care was entrusted to a family acquaintance.

People across China are – perhaps for the wrong reasons – raising voices of sympathy towards her plight, filling message boards with humanitarian comments:

“I want to help her to have a brighter future!”
“What can I do to help her?”
“She should be with her mother!”
“I want to meet her! Where can I hear her play?”

Furthermore, it’s been reported that she’s selling her “first love” for approximately US$15,500. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that and she can find another means to guarantee a better life for her and her family.
[ Read in Japanese ]