It an Internet café located near Jilin University in China sits a young man who has spent six years of his life continuously playing online games after graduating from university.
Except for where he’ll be nearly 24 hours a day very little is known about this man called Li Meng. Even a reporter from Xinhua was only able to get brief shreds of information while he spent most of the time glued to his monitor.
As the Xinhua reporter went looking for Li Meng on a tip from a university professor they arrived on one of the few moments he was out either to get food or bathe according to the café owner.
As far as him having a family; no one knows. Even though he has spent every day (including holidays) playing by night and sleeping by day in the café for over half a decade few words have passed between him and staff.
According to the manager he claims to make about 2000 RMB (US$322) a month and hands over 500 RMB (US$80) to cover the table fee for that time. He keeps to himself, is generally well mannered, and over time he just blended in with the place.
When the reporter finally did make contact with the young man he took only the time to give a few details about his life. He was born in Hebei in 1983, was a university graduate, and his name was Li Meng.
China is currently coming to grips with its widespread video game and Internet addiction among its youth. While some family members intervened with virtual hit men for their loved ones, others have resorted to controversial boot camp-style rehabilitation centers.
Mental health professionals have had an interest in Li Meng’s case for a while but haven’t been able to open a dialog with him.
Although they strongly feel he is deep into an addiction and requires treatment they are also open to the possibility that he is just using the online game to make a living in financially difficult times.