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Henan Family Endures Living In Junked Minibus To Save Money

The Feng family in a family photo standing in front of their motor home in Henan.
2010 October 24th, the daughter who normally boards at school has returned, and the family takes a photo in front of their van. For Feng Zeng, it isn't impossible to afford a mortgage to buy a house on the money he makes from his auto repair shop. But, with the pressure/burden of a mortgage, the entire family's living standards will drop considerably, and sending the three children to school will become a big problem.
A Chinese family in Henan province lives inside a junked minibus.
December 30th, Henan Zhengzhou, underneath the dim street lights of Zhengwei Road, inside a minibus with the license plate 豫G33425, the glow of a cluster of orange light adds a sliver of warmth to the cold winter night. The daughter is diligently doing her homework, while the others surround a furnace for warmth. Feng Zeng from Huaiyang County fixes automobiles in Zhengzhou, brought his family from his hometown, and have livedin their discarded minibus "snail house" for four years.

From Sohu & Xinmin:

A family lives in a “motor home” through the harsh winter, hopes to buy a larger discarded car in the new year

[Summary] In Huaiyang, Henan province, Feng Zeng’s family has been living in a minibus/van for 4 years. Now that winter has come, this reporter visited the family of 4 living in the minibus. Last year, the stove/furnace used to provide warmth broke, and the owner has not yet purchased a new one. It isn’t impossible [for them] to purchase a house through a mortgage with the money earned from their auto repair shop. But sending the three kids to school will then be very difficult…

“Next year, we will buy a larger discarded van”

June 25th, from the A12 section of the Zheng Zhou Evening Newspaper came the report of Feng’s family having lived in a van for four years. Since then, many media reported this “most niu motor home in history”. In an instant, the van’s owner, Feng Zeng, even became an “internet celebrity”.

“How [did I] become so famous by simply living in a van?” Over the past 6 months, this reporter has gone to visit Feng Zeng many times, and almost every time he will ask this question.

“Tomorrow will be the first day of 2011, and with such cold days, will the family living in the van feel cold?” Last night at 6pm, as the day became dark, this reporter once again arrived at Zhengwei Road, to visit the four-membered family living in the van.

Feng Zeng, the father, seals up drafts coming in through the minibus windows with cardboard.
As the end of 2010 approached, this "Zhengzhou Evening Newspaper" reporter once again arrived at Zhengwei Road, to visit the four people living in the van. Because the days are too cold, Feng Zeng has used cardboard to seal the windows to prevent the wind from leaking in.

Last winter, the furnace used to provide heat broke, but [they] are not yet willing to purchase a new one

Under the dim light of the Zhengwei Road street lamps, inside the minibus with the license plate “豫G33425” [豫, yu is the Henan prefix for license plates], the glow of a cluster of orange light adds a sliver of warmth to the cold winter night.

Entering the van, the computer that used to be underneath the air conditioner next to the door is gone. The space is now occupied by a worn-out 12 inch TV.

The computer has been moved to a corner in Feng’s automobile repair shop. “It is okay for the kids to use the computer during summers in the van, but sitting in the car using it during the winters is truly too cold”.

After dinner, Feng’s two kids opened their school backpacks, and took out their homework. Feng and his wife quickly brought over the stove/furnace that is used to cook during the day, so the children can be a bit warmer. Because the stove used to make food does not have a stovepipe/chimney, they take it back out after it becomes a bit warmer.

“Last year, the furnace specifically used to provide warmth in the van broke, and we haven’t yet bought a new one.” Feng Zeng wants to wait more, saying that winter might pass very quickly, and maybe the money for a new furnace can be saved.

9-year-old daughter Feng Yuepeng took her homework, placed several sheets of newspaper down, and sat down at a crude table beside the furnace. “Except for the oldest daughter in middle school who boards at school, these two children have indeed suffered a lot of hardships over these past 4 years, the children’s hands getting chapped every year.” Feng Zeng’s wife Liu Zongying is making the bed for the children, but as she raised her head to look at her children, her eyes were a little red.

Feng Zeng tends the fire inside the car to warm up the interior.
After eating dinner, the two children open their book bags and take out their homework. Feng Zeng and his wife rush to bring in the furnace they used to cook during the day, so the children can be warmer. Since the cooking stove does not have a stovepipe, they take it back out after it became warmer inside.
7-year-old Fang Jiaming's dirty hand is severely chapped from the winter cold.
7-year-old Feng Jiaming is Feng Zeng's smallest child. This winter, his little hands have already become severely chapped. "Except for the oldest daughter in middle school who boards at school, these two children have indeed suffered a lot of hardships over these past 4 years, the children's hands getting chapped every year." Feng Zeng's wife Liu Zongying is making the bed for the children, but as she raised her head to look at her children, her eyes were a little red.

2011’s goal is very practical: “Buy a larger discarded vehicle”

For Feng Zeng, it isn’t impossible to afford a mortgage to buy a house on the money he makes from his auto repair shop. But, with the pressure/burden of a mortgage, the entire family’s living standards will drop considerably, and sending the three children to school will become a big problem.

“Next year, [I will] try to find a way to improve the shop’s circumstances [move or renovate], do my best to expand the business a bit.”

Feng Zeng thinks that despite 23 years of working in automobile repair, his current economic ability is still not suitable to be a “mortgage slave”.

Feng Zeng has no plans to buy a house in the short term, [instead] paying attention to the discarded vehicle market. “I hope I can spend 7000 to 8000 kuai to purchase a slightly larger van/minibus to live in, so it will be a little more spacious.”

Of the 5 members of the entire household, 4 of them have lived in the harsh conditions of the minibus for 4 years.

Feng Zeng says, they are already used to this kind of life, and with the family being together over these years, they are very blessed/happy.

This minibus is the converted home of the Feng family in Henan.
2010 June 24th, a rusty minibus "motor home" with four flat tires and its metal hubs resting on the ground. Through a window hangs the outside unit of an air conditioner, and on the handles hangs an old-fashioned lock, all very conspicuous.
The son of Feng Zeng sits on the bed where he, his older sisters, and his mother sleep at night.
In Feng's "motor home", two beds specially measured and welded together occupy the rear half of the cabin, where wife Liu Zongying and the three children squeeze together. At the head of the bed is the "living room", where the family eats and the children study. The three-legged television stand is the 3 children's desk.
The back of the Feng family's van, as cars pass by on the street outside.
Whereas other vehicles drive pass on the road, this 豫G33425 license plate has become a street address. In front of the auto repair shop runs a wide road where cars driving between Henan and Shanxi pass by continuously day and night, throwing up dust that has covered the minibus.
Inside the dilapidated minibus is an air conditioning unit and a computer flat screen monitor.
Seeing that his father has moved the computer flat screen display onto the van, little Jiaming is especially happy. He says, this summer vacation will definitely be interesting/fun.
The Feng family in a family photo standing in front of their motor home in Henan.
2010 October 24th, the daughter who normally boards at school has returned, and the family takes a photo in front of their van. For Feng Zeng, it isn't impossible to afford a mortgage to buy a house on the money he makes from his auto repair shop. But, with the pressure/burden of a mortgage, the entire family's living standards will drop considerably, and sending the three children to school will become a big problem.

A video on Sohu:

Comments from Sohu:

sclxmdyso:

High housing prices are a problem! But [they] have three children! “More than one child guerrillas” [a nickname for people who violate the One Child Policy and have more than one child, also the name of a comedy movie about the same subject]! The poorer [the family is], the more children [the poor family] has, and the more children [the poor family] has, the poorer [the family gets]! The “One Child Policy” is also a basic/fundamental national policy [that should be observed]!

换领:

Exactly, a family happy and harmonious being together. Instead of being a “mortgage slave”, might as well spend the money on the children’s education, entertainment, etc.
After all, the housing price is going to fall sooner or later, how could there be products that only increase but never decrease [in price]? It would be better to buy a place after housing prices have fallen.

你是谁我就是谁:

Irresponsible parents. If you don’t have the ability to not let them suffer, then don’t have so many [children].

搜狐天津市网友:

It is not that they don’t want to be “mortgage slaves”…

搜狐手机网友:

So they are one of those “More than one child guerrillas”, forget about them then.

透过云层的阳光:

“Feng Zeng says, they are already used to this kind of life, and with the family being together over these years, they are very blessed/happy.” ——- Look what high socialist consciousness [awareness and understanding of the government or country’s needs] our ordinary common people have, so harmonious!

搜狐手机网友:

After this kind of report, [I] predict they won’t be able to live in that “snail house” anymore.

搜狐手机网友:

My god, three children.

gumpmaster_NEW: (responding to the above comment)

Americans, Japanese, even including our Hong Kong special administrative region, none of them have restriction [on the number of children that can be born, the One Child Policy]. They have a lot of children in their family, but aren’t they still living just fine?
Some people just like attacking others.

凯旋车友: (responding to gumpmaster_NEW)

It isn’t attacking, it is unfair. Why can those in the countryside have more children, then bring their entire family along into the cities to steal others’ livelihoods, and then complain about being poor to get sympathy? Also, how much do you know about America’s, Japan’s, or Hong Kong’s policies and circumstances? Do you know why they don’t have more children? Is it comparable [to China’s circumstances]?

搜狐手机网友:

Stay away from drugs, stay away from the Chinese housing market, both involve obscene profits and hurt people.

zyl80:

The car will now be demolished, and the reporter has yet again done a bad deed.”

What do you think about China’s One Child Policy?

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