A seven-year-old boy was found living in a pigpen outside of his family home in Puyang, Henan province. The child was unable to communicate properly and was covered in scrapes and bruises when he was discovered by a charity volunteer and a local reporter on Saturday.
The young boy, called “Little Hongbo”, had been sleeping outside all year round, even in the rain and snow, Puyang Morning Post reports. The pigpen is located in the middle of the family’s yard and smells foul.
The boy’s father, 46-year-old Liu Zhenxue, is a pig farmer, while his mother is living with mental illness.
Liu raises pigs and drives a pedicab in town, but the family can barely afford to eat. He travels to town every morning and collects refuse from different restaurants, which the family picks through then gives to the pigs.
The boy’s mother had five children, although three of them died, one local villager said. It’s believed that the mother’s abusive behavior is what led to their deaths.
“I often hear the mother taking Little Hongbo’s head and knocking it against the door or the floor. Sometimes it’ll take three or four hits until he starts crying,” one neighbor told the newspaper.
Villagers who took pity on the child offered him clothing, food and would sometimes knock down his gate to let him play outside of the pigpen.
“If I could, I would like to adopt the kid. I might not be rich, but at least I could feed him and send him to school,” said Zhang Jiwen, one of the volunteers.
The paper did not say what will become of the boy or his parents following the discovery of his horrid living conditions.
by Maggie Wong