Child courier sparks concern

The boy (right), nicknamed Xiaochangjiang, which means "Little Yangtze River", celebrating his birthday for the first time on Sunday at a welfare home in Qingdao, Shandong province.
The boy (right), nicknamed Xiaochangjiang, which means "Little Yangtze River", celebrating his birthday for the first time on Sunday at a welfare home in Qingdao, Shandong province.PHOTO: CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

BEIJING • The welfare of another young child in China has become an online talking point, after photos of him reportedly working as a courier were circulated on the Internet.

The photos show the seven-year-old delivering goods in a residential area in downtown Qingdao, Shandong province, said China Daily.

Thousands of people who have seen the pictures on the WeChat messaging app have expressed concern about the welfare of the boy, who has been given the nickname Xiaochangjiang, which means "Little Yangtze River".

Mr Wang Qingwei, director of the Qingdao Chess Association, had uploaded the photos of the boy.

"He handed me a big package with some difficulty last week and asked me to sign a confirmation receipt," Mr Wang said. Seeing the boy's hands were red with cold, Mr Wang invited him in for a rest.

The boy, who had never seen a chess set before, was fascinated by the game, said Mr Wang. He gave the boy a chess set and told him to drop by and learn how to play.

According to Mr Wang, the boy had been living with his father's former colleague after his father died and his mother remarried, reported China Daily. Home for the boy and his father's former colleague was a makeshift building at a delivery company's local branch in the city's Shibei district. The boy helped the man deliver packages.

The Qingdao Shibei district government said an investigation is under way to locate the boy's mother.

After his plight came to light, the boy was sent to a local children's welfare home over the weekend.

"The boy is very smart and he is in good health," said deputy director Ren Linsong of the welfare home, adding that the home will care for him and help with his schooling.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 17, 2018, with the headline 'Child courier sparks concern'. Print Edition | Subscribe