5 Chinese Boys Trying to Escape Cold Found Dead in Dumpster

The trashcan in which the 5 boys were found dead.

From NetEase:

5 Homeless Boys in Guizhou Bijie Suspected Suffocating to Death After Hiding in Dumpster to Escape the Cold


According to Beijing News, on the morning of the 16th, 5 unidentified boys were found dead in a dumpster in the urban area of Guizhou Province Bijie City. Guizhou police have begun investigations. As of when this news was released last night [November 17], authorities still haven’t revealed the identities or the cause of death for the deceased. According to preliminary analyses, the 5 children may have died of “suffocation” after hiding in the dumpster to escape the cold.

According to an official of the Bijie Propaganda Department, the person who first found the 5 deceased is an old scavenger woman. The incident happened on the Huandong Road sidewalk in Bijie City’s Qixingguan District, which is less than 100 meters away from the Liucangqiao [sub-district] Office.

The trashcan in which the 5 boys were found dead.

The trashcan in which the 5 boys were found dead.

According to the photos posted by netizens, the dumpster in which the incident happened has a green base with a white lid, is about a man’s height, length about 1.5 meters, and the width about 1.3 meters, the white lid capable of sealing the opening.

This reporter learned from the Bijie Municipal Party Committee Propaganda Department that the 5 deceased boys were of different ages, but were all around 10 years old. A relevant person involved indicate that because the police is currently getting in touch with the Education Department and family members [of the deceased], the specific identities of the deceased are still unknown right now, as well as why they were in the trashcan.

The official of the Propaganda Department mentioned above also revealed that the bodies of the deceased have already been sent to Bijie City morgue. An investigation group assembled together by police from both the province and the city has begun the investigation. According to the preliminary information at hand, the possibility of a homicide has been ruled out.

The shed which the 5 boys built out of scraps.

According to a description by a witness who has been to the scene, next to the dumpster in which the incident happened is a demolition site. “These Children built a shed by the demolition site’s surrounding wall, using some plastic tarpaulins with advertisements printed on them, cement bricks, and three-ply boards, and had lived in it for days”.

Nearby residents say they saw some children find an old ball from within the dumpster, playing with it within the enclosed wall.

According to a preliminary analysis, the 5 children may have “suffocated to death” hiding in the dumpster to escape the cold. The specific cause of death is expected to be made public by the police within days.

Bijie City is located in the northwest of Guizhou Province, where there are many mountains, and is about 200 kilometers from the provincial capital Guiyang City. On November 15, the lowest air temperature was 6℃ [43℉], and it had drizzled during that night that day.

Comments from NetEase:

qqf55 [网易浙江省杭州市网友]:

“The homes of the rich reek of meat and wine, while frozen bodies lie by the roadside.” It has been a thousand years [since this poem was written by Du Fu], yet we haven’t progressed at all.

奶头事业 [网易安徽省合肥市网友]:

After seeing this news, I’m truly very (speechless). Is this the Xiaokang future?

ysm860929 [网易新西兰网友]:

Rest in peace, children.
Next time during reincarnation, please don’t choose hard mode again.

网易广东省河源市网友 ip:121.14.*.*:

If you [government officials] just drink one less bottle of Maotai, how many homeless children can you help?

网易山东省青岛市网友 ip:221.3.*.*: (responding to above)

Must abolish the dual pension scheme.

奶头事业 [网易安徽省合肥市网友]:

The weather is getting cold. Just how many more of street urchins in different areas are going to suffer the same tragic consequences when night comes?
I hope every local authority will attach importance to this kind of thing. Thank you.

rochechen [网易北京市手机网友]:

China’s per capita income in the world ranking:
78th in 1960,
82nd in 1970,
94th in 1980,
105th in 1990,
106th in 2008,
127th in 2010.

China’s GDP in the world ranking:
15th in 1978,
10th in 1990,
7th in 1995,
6th in 2000,
4th in 2007,
2nd in 2010.

Investment in education:
Average public education investment in the world is 5.1% of GNP,
Developed countries is 5.3%,
Sub-Saharan African countries is 4.6%,
India is 3.5%,
The least developed countries are 3.3%,
China is 2.3%.

In 2002, China’s national investment in public financial budget in sex education was 3.41% of its GNP,
In 2003, it was 3.28%,
In 2004, it was 2.7%,
Less and less by the year.

China, which makes up 1/5th of the world’s population receiving education, only makes up 1.5% of the world’s total expenditures on education;
The United States has 200 million people, with educational expenditures of 700 billion USD,
China has 1.3 billion people, with educational expenditures of 40 billion.

Ever since 2003, the less economically developed country of Kenya has overcome one difficulty after another, unprecedentedly implementing true completely free education, where students don’t need to pay any money for books, tuition, and educational supplies. Following Kenya, some other countries have also carried out free elementary education, such as Malawi, Lesotho, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, etc. 2/3rds of African countries have educational expenditures exceeding 4% of their GNPs.

Investment in healthcare:
China’s public health expenditures makes up 4.5% of its GNP,
The minimum investment standard established by the WTO is 5%,
Among the world’s 191 countries, [China] is ranked 188th (4th from the bottom),
OECD is 8.4%,
The United States is 13.9%,
Switzerland is 13.9%.
China’s investments in education and healthcare can’t even match one of the poorest countries in the world—-Uganda!!!

网易天津市网友 ip:113.31.*.*: (responding to above)

I’m living in a Chinese fairy tale.

有修养的演员 [网易山西省运城市网友]:

Perhaps it’s a release/escape [for the dead children, from China]!

ksharplee [网易浙江省金华市网友]:

They are all children, children! What should I say!! Is this what a tragic world is like?!

内阁总理大臣李鸿章 [网易山东省济南市网友]:

Are you happy?
Experts claim China has become one of the intermediate developed countries of the world
2012 November 12, China News.

An update on Sina Weibo:

@头条新闻: Guizhou Police Claim The 5 Boys in Dumpster Died of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: On the 16th, 5 boys in Guizhou Bijie were found dead in a dumpster on a Qixingguan District sidewalk. According to a preliminary investigation by the police, the 5 boys died of carbon monoxide intoxication while making a fire to warm themselves in the dumpster. Up to now, 3 of the children have been identified, they’re locals of Qixingguan District, the investigation for the identities of the other 2 children is still ongoing.

The shed and the trashcan.

Comments from Sina Weibo:


So poor and so horrible! The Chinese modern version of The Little Match Girl! [We, our country] Must establish an aid system to prevent something like this from ever happening again!


Only investigating after they’ve died. Would there be such a tragedy if [people] helped the kids find their homes while they were still alive?


How could five children have been reduced to making a fire in a dumpster for warmth without anyone caring about them, and only now that they’ve died does everybody come out to investigate. Fuck, what a society. Stop donating money every day to this impoverished country or that impoverished country, and all without requiring them to pay it back. Fucking first save our own country’s children. Wait until the day our own country’s children’s food and clothing problems are solved, their education ensured, and then go help others.


Since they’re locals, the possibility of them being homeless children is unlikely, so maybe they’re just naughty kids. Waiting patiently for their family members to come out and clarify!


[3 of them are] locals of Qixingguan District!! They’re urban kids, and there are 5 of them. What exactly do their parents do, for their children to be wandering around like this, in such cold weather, without [their parents] caring about it? Just letting them freeze to death like this, you’ll get what’s coming for this.


Forcing children on cold nights to make a fire in a dumpster for warmth, that is the negligence and shame of each and every one of us adults.


Been wandering/homeless for days… the last moment of your lives, all this country gave you was apathy…[蜡烛][蜡烛][蜡烛]


This news is so not harmonious.


This reason is much more scientific than the suffocation theory at the beginning, is in accord with the Scientific Development Concept. Rest in peace, children, it’ll no longer be cold in heaven.


I praise you, my country, don’t block my weibo commentary. [雪][雪][雪][雪][雪][泪]

Another update from Sina:

4 of the 5 Boys Who Died of Suffocation in Guizhou were Dropouts & Runaways


This reporter learned from Bijie City Hall that from the 16th to 18th, by scouring the neighborhood, the identities of the 5 boys have been confirmed. They live in Qingxingguan District Haizijie County Caqiangyan Village, their names are Tao Zhongjing (12), Tao Zhonghong (11), Tao Zhonglin (13), Tao Chong (12), and Tao Bo (9). The police have confirmed that they died of carbon monoxide poisoning from making a fire in the dumpster.

Tao Jinyou, father of the deceased boy Tao Zhonglin, told reporters that the 5 boys had not returned ever since they met to go play 3 weeks ago, during which parents and teachers had gone looking for them in Haizijie County and Qixingguan urban area many times, and that it wasn’t until they received the call from police did they learn that the children were dead. According to Tao Yuanwu, father of the deceased boys Tao Chong and Tao Bo, 4 of the 5 children were considered dropouts from school, and even though teachers had repeatedly encouraged them, they refused to go to school with the reason that “[our] grades are not good, don’t want to go to school”. The 5 boys always hung out together, and sometimes wouldn’t return home for days, with the local police having had to take them home multiple times in the past. At present, the 5 deceased boys’ funerals have been appropriately arranged.

A representative of the Bijie Municipal Party Committee & City Hall expressed that they are saddened by the deaths of the 5 boys, and that this incident has revealed many weak links in Bijie’s city’s social administration, social aid, ensuring schooling and controlling dropouts, etc. Bijie will learn from this lesson, expand and improve its proactive aid mechanisms, strengthen school management, and earnestly focus on helping homeless and left-behind children.

Meanwhile, Bijie Municipal Party Committee & City Hall have severely punished relevant departments and personals that are administratively responsible for this incident. After consideration, Bijie Municipal Party Committee has decided, Tang Xingquan and Gao Shoujun, Deputy Heads of District who are in charge of civil affairs and education of Qixingguan District, are to be suspended from work while the case is being investigated, meanwhile, they’ll be investigated by higher authorities. After consideration, Qixingguan District Committee has decided that these personals shall be suspended from work: Zhang Yi, Secretary of Party Committee of District Education Bureau. Jiao Zhonghua, Secretary of Party Committee of District Bureau of Civil Affairs. Mu Yuanxing, Deputy Secretary of Party Committee of Haizijie County. And submit through legal process to suspend these three personals from their duties as Director of Education Bureau, Director of Bureau of Civil Affairs, and Mayor of Haizijie County. And submit through legal process to suspend Liu Hongxi from his work as the Deputy Mayor of Haizijie County. And oblige Party Committee of Haizijie County to suspend Wu Kangqin for her work as the principal of Haizijie County Center School, suspend Zhou Wang from his work as the principal of Caqiangyan Village Elementary School.

Comments from Sina Weibo:


3 weeks ago! Weren’t these parents worried?!


This response by the government is obviously because they’re freaked out by the public opinion. But to tell the truth, I think as guardians, the parents must bear the most responsibility.


Now that more people are paying attention [to this story], “homeless [boys]” has becomes “[boys] hanging out”, so now the government has no reason to help them, and perhaps it’s not only responsibility they’re avoiding?


Doesn’t make sense! Several children around the age of 10, not returning home for three weeks, yet not a word of calling the police has been mentioned in the news. Not calling the police, is this normal? I’m afraid there’s something that can’t be revealed to the public here? (Don’t ask me, I don’t know.)


Are they family that they the same surname? How could parents like them allow their children to go out and play and go 3 weeks without calling the police to search for them? Responsibility…


What about the parents? Obviously it’s a problem with the parents, a problem that the irresponsible parents should be held accountable for.


This time the public relation handling of the government is very gei li.[给力]


If what is being reported is all the truth, then it is the parents who are primarily responsible. Also, let’s ask ourselves: If you saw some children on the street unaccompanied by adults, would you call the police?


The thuggish/gangster downstairs in my apartment has stolen things, been in fights, and even beaten someone to death. It’s one thing to be a failure and not a good person… but to have the media embellish and dramatize this, getting all of society to shed tears for them… Would decent kids run away from home and play with fire on the street?


In the end, it is the system that is the biggest problem.

November 21 UPDATE: The following microblog post was a trending post today, having been forwarded and shared nearly 50k times with over 13k comments…

@凯迪网络: 【凯迪网友李元龙:毕节五个孩子闷死垃圾箱前一两天的照片】这是孩子闷死垃圾箱前一两天,一位路人用手机,在毕节学院路段地下通道阶梯上照的。这里距离孩子出事的地点,也就百把米。这很可能是五个孩子来到人世间,留下的唯一一张图片”>KDNet Netizen Li Yuanlong: Photo of the 5 Bijie Children Just A Few Days Before They Suffocated in the Dumpster: This was just one or two days before the children suffocated to death in the dumpster, taken by a passerby using a mobile phone on the steps of the pedestrian tunnel on a section of Bijie College Road. This was just hundreds of meters away from where the children died. This may very well be the very last photograph that these children left of their time in this world.

Possibly the last photograph of the group of 5 Chinese children who died of carbon monoxide poisoning in a dumpster trying to escape the cold.

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  • auldred

    Sofa.. I guess.

    • YourSupremeCommander

      You comment is sofa king awesome.

  • elizabeth

    They shouldn’t blaming the educators. The parents have neglected the kids.

    • lacompacida

      Some of their parents are migrant workers, and others were working in the farm. The school reported their skipping classes to the parents many times.

      • anon

        Thanks for sharing more details about the story.

  • shanghairen

    Isn’t this where the earthquake happened several weeks ago?

    • Jennster

      no yunnan. basically all mountainous minority provinces

    • lacompacida

      Close, but a few hundred miles away in a neighboring province.

  • lacompacida

    Ah, the government that lifted 400 million out of poverty. I bet these five were not in poverty. Knowing how the government, the party and the country love and care for them, they should be happy even in death like those died in the quake.

    • themig

      chinese boys are the most oppressed everywhere else on earth but in China they are the most spoiled brats possible

      • bprichard

        What makes you say that Chinese boys are the most oppressed everywhere? I think girls in Saudi Arabia might have something to say about that. If they were allowed out of their houses.

        • lacompacida

          I agree with you. Since girls in Saudi are oppress, therefore boys in China are not. Great logic. You Chinese or something ?

          • bprichard

            Learn how to read. The previous poster said that Chinese males are the “most oppressed”. I questioned that by providing an example of a group that is far more oppressed. I’m not sure if your problem is logic or reading, but you’re doing at least one of them wrong.

      • lacompacida

        I am glad to see how these five boys are spoiled. That’s why they are so happy in death.

    • Stu

      400 million out of poverty doesn’t mean everyone’s out of poverty.

  • lonetrey / Dan

    Hmmm, are people not aware of CO2 poisoning in China? Sad that something so obvious to me would happen to these poor kids.

    I’ve seen quite a few articles about homeless kids on Chinasmack in the past… what is going on with that situation in China?

    • Brett

      Even with the dumpster covers closed there should be enough ventilation that CO2 build up shouldnt be the problem…

      Anyone ever ask whether they were dead before they got in the dumpster?

      • Kukuku

        That would be a lot of hard work for the police. Hard work is difficult. They are probably tired and would rather do something else. I’m tired too so I understand.

      • Germandude

        Brett, I don’t know. Take a close look at the dumpster. It looks like it closes pretty tight. Imagine 5 boys sleeping in there, consuming air. If they were sleeping deeply, they would suffocate to death without feeling anything. As ugly as this sounds but “sweet dreams” in a deep sleep will make you not realize that you are running out of oxigen.

      • SuperHappyCow

        From my understanding, carbon monoxide does not just pass through your lungs and exit as you exhale, but instead stays in your lungs and blocks oxygen from entering. You don’t need to be in an air tight box to die from it like you would for carbon dioxide.

        This story made me pretty sad. : (

    • Alphy

      Guys read more carefully it is Carbon MONoxide (CO) not CO2, It is odorless and colorless, and are easily produced when burning carbon based material. It causes brain damage and are often call the silent killer, as your blood soaks it up quicker than oxygen in the air, and in return blocks oxygen.

      Dependent on what they are burning and how long they burned the garbage, CO can quickly build up in a dumpster, and being homeless kids, they would easily mistake the fatigue or other symptoms.

      The question regarding situation in China, really has to do with inequality. As one of the Netizen above have posted, spending in education and public safety net in China is seriously lacking compare with its GDP growth. There is a HUGE gap in wealth in China that even the Chinese Government recognized as a huge issue and root of social unrest. Unlike developed countries that have good welfare safety net along with NGO that helps kids and problem families, China is decades behind.

      I actually laugh every time someone compare universal healthcare or regulations that helps to close the wealth gap to communism, as one really just need to look at China to see how true that statement really is.

  • Nilerafter24

    Tragic that children are left in a situation like this.
    And what’s with the China Smack banner in the netizen comment?

  • This is an unfortunate loss of life. What a humbling story though; we’ve got it very good here in the states. Even those in destitute conditions still have an abundant access to shelter and aid programs. China really needs to do better for its people.

    • lacompacida

      We’ve go it good in the States ? You must be kidding. If you can read the comments by some of the Americans in news sites, you can see that we are much worse off than the Chinese. But why let truth spoil a good fantasy.

      • HK

        ‘much worse off than the Chinese’

        You are either:

        1. a wu mao

        2. have never been to China

        3. an ABC with a chip on his or her shoulder and enough insecurities to fill a Guizhou dumpster

        4. a complete moron

        Or maybe a combination of all 4

  • Math

    6C is not -14F, it’s 43F. Huge difference.

  • redgirls

    Like most of the posters from China have said, 3 Weeks without calling the police, What the Hell?
    I hope they come down like a ton of bricks on any one, who owed a dedication of care to these young boys. God rest their souls.
    I have a son the same age as these boys, this is just heart breaking.

  • Super Bunny

    can not understand chinese super desire of carry on the ancestral line…even treat kids like pig…
    but on the other hand, my neighbors they treat their only one super son too well…let them do nothing but play computer at home or call on group of guys eat and play together all the time at home…

    • lacompacida

      That’s good. Just think of them as future competitors of our own kids and you will feel so much better.

  • Germandude

    A society is measured by how it treats its weakest members

    • linette lee

      That is a good one. How you treat the weak tells a lot about your character. That is so truth.

      • Kukuku

        Another one that hits Chinese culture in the ribs:

        A person’s character is not measured by how he helps those who can do him harm otherwise, but rather how he helps those who can’t do him any good.

  • Rick in China

    Very sad. The first comment is fantastic – the Du Fu poem re: reeking of meat and wine while bodies lay frozen by the road side.. very apt for this story..

    • alien

      thousands of songs and poems were written about this.

      thanks to governments, we now have some of the worst problems.

      those fuckers haven’t done a damn thing since the beginning of time.

      lazy fuckers i hope that one of those hot gf’s takes out a big dildo and fucks him in his ear

  • grand-openning

    did any of you read the story properly? firstly, these children died of carbon monoxide poisoning, not suffocation. secondly these children were runaways and school dropouts. they skip classes because they say “their grades weren’t good”.

    • linette lee

      carbon monoxide is a silent killer. People died in their sleep without knowing. The gas has no odor or color.

      In usa you are required to have carbon monoxide detector in the house because we used furnace burning gas to heat up home in the winter, which the gas is vented outside through metal pipe. The furnace is located in the basement. I remember in my mom’s house one time the detector came on in the basement where I usually study or watch tV and even sleep there on sofa. The detector woke me up thank god.

    • lacompacida

      Four of these boys didn’t go to school because they can’t afford it. The boy who skip classes was the only one who can go to school. And all of them had to find food for the table themselves. They were all lifted from poverty by the CCP, though.

    • Zhegezhege

      Actually, you could say that they suffocated.
      Suffocation does not necessarily imply murderous intent on the part of a separate party (!) but can also simply mean deprivation of oxygen or inhalation of poisonous gases.
      The reason that carbon monoxide is so dangerous in a confined space is that the haemoglobin in your blood, responsible for reacting with and absorbing oxygen – that you need to respire and hence live – also absorbs carbon monoxide. A haemoglobin molecule that absorbs carbon monoxide is then not available to carry oxygen and hence your oxygen supply is depleted, one available carrying molecule at a time, until new ones are produced by the body.
      You can be in an environment with plenty of oxygen (although burning coal in a confined space will of course deplete it) but if you are breathing too much CO then it is fair to say that the CO is suffocating you.

  • This story reminds me of the 2 little girls that froze to death because they were afraid to go home because they got low scores on an exam. Really, really sad. (Hey! Who the fuck is chopping onions in here!)

    • rollin wit 9’s

      This sounds like a China problem though. Ex: Girl commits suicide for lack of finishing homework or sth., Parents in Guangzhou petitioning for less homework, students not passing gaokao thinking life is over, and what you just mentioned as well. I never in my life heard of any of my friends (only counting the Asian ones whose parents are likely to be anal) even feeling remotely at fault or resentful for not finishing homework or getting low scores on an exam. What in the education system or cultural says that 24 workload in and out of school is beneficial for the students?
      These same people are going on to take regular jobs, lead dull and uninteresting lives and become another statistic. And for devoting 18-24 years of their life to a day in and day out rigorous homework & exam lifestyle and extra currics centered around what they are already burdened with at school it’s surprising no one important has stood up and said fuck this!
      IMO, westrern high school grads (the good students) tend to be ‘smarter’ than many of the college students in China.
      I’d say it’s time for educational reform in China but we all know that even the word ‘reform’ is taboo here.

      • I just remembered about those 2 little girls from reading this post because it was when I first came here and read it in China Daily since it was before I ever used a computer and before the first real China rant blog “Talk Talk China” (a really excellent blog ) and I was so saddened and horrified when I read it since I didn’t really have a clue about how things worked here and I thought how China was opening up and a developing country and hopefully things will get better for kids like that.
        That was in 2002.

  • where is the news?

    I was reading on weibo today.. it didn’t take long for someone to put a waiguoren/yangguizi spin/angle on the story.

    it translated like this (my quick translation) 11 days couldn’t find the 5 missing kids. but a japanese person’s bike was stolen and in one day the police found it. a russian person in ningbo lost his passport and police rummaged through 5 tones of garbage to find it. etc etc. (then I stopped) it’s under 网易新闻客户端

    • lacompacida

      The waigouren/yangguizi spin should be “Obama/CIA did it to contain the growth of China.”

    • anon

      That’s the “our government treats foreigners better than its own people” spin. Its not against foreigners. It’s against their own.

      • a

        then how come chinese people shit on each other?

  • Cleo

    don’t have a baby if you can’t take care of the baby

  • vincent

    Sad article, poor kids died because noone cared enough, at least they looked happy in that last photo, RIP

  • Alexander

    I wish they had Boy Scouts in China, survival skills go along way, especially in developing areas….

  • Ryo

    The cause of death was the parents having kids they can’t afford to take care of.

  • alien

    well, my friends ask me why I am so negative. I was slamming thanksgiving(I am American) because people eat and celebrate when the history of whites against native americans.

    i could never enjoy another turkey dinner.

    this story is another example.

    how can some really fat, old nasty guy have 20 gfs whom are hot? money that’s why.

    well how can that happen when CHILDREN don’t even have a place to sleep from the cold.

    fuck the world. i give up. im tired of watching all the noise. all i see if bad shit day in a day out.

    if there are aliens(I believe) then if they visited us they must think to themselves.

    “shit man, this race is really fucked up, let’s get out of here before we get killed. Or suffer from inhaling bad air or drinking bad waters”

    In the tradition of the people of my generation FTW!!!

  • T-Rav

    I agree with LEO花猫, we need to help our countries before we help others, how we can help other if we can’t even help those around us?!? I am not totally ignorant nor knowledge full about china, I lived there for 3 years in Shenyang, Changchun, Beijing, I came 6 months before the Olympics and have seen a lot of change since, and change takes time, these children weren’t educated or survival took over, they were cold…and it does get very cold in parts of china, there are many “homeless” people who beg who actually have money and a home, there needs to be some system put into china to help people who’m are actually homeless, especially if it’s children, maybe some of whom ran away, or were thrown away by their families, I have met many traditional chinese people in china who without a thought would have rushed in and helped these children before sometimes like this would’ve happened, but many of the younger generation do not carry these values, are quite selfish, this does that just apply to some chinese youth but many around the world. if we continue to follow the same path’s many of our countries our following it will only lead to more depression within our cultures and societies

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