A man from the cold north of Heilongjiang province recently made headlines after he was discovered to have been living alone in a cellar of his own construction for over a decade, drinking alcohol to keep warm.
Yu Fazhong lives three kilometres away from Beiji Village in Heilongjiang province, located at the most northern frontier of China. Due to the inhospitably cold weather, Beiji has been dubbed China’s “Arctic Village.”
Netizens and those living nearby struggle to fathom how Yu manages to live in such conditions, having to deal with the loneliness, lack of space and freezing temperatures.
“I’ve been accustomed to the living conditions after staying here for more than ten years,” Yu told reporters. “If it’s too cold, I will light a fire to warm myself up. During the day time, I like to sip liquor to keep warm.” Yu also told reporters that he fishes in order to eat.
The “Arctic Village” was built in the 1960s. Today the village covers an area of 16 square kilometers. There are 243 permanent households with a combined population of 1,000 people.
The average low in the three winter months hovers around -35°C (-31°F). An annual mean temperature of -4.29 °C (24.3 °F) means the village is only just warm enough to avoid continuous permafrost. Temperatures can dip as low as -45°C.
Yu’s tale is far less tragic than the 52-year-old who was abandoned by her family and forced to live in a cave in rural Hubei.
By Lucy Liu
[Images via Tencent]