Legless Sheep Farmer in Hebei Inspires Chinese Netizens


This was the “hottest” article on Chinese web portal Tencent News at the time of translation…

From QQ:

Photo Story: Hebei “Legless Tough Guy” Becomes Rich Operating Farm

Hebei province Zhangjiakou city Xiyulin village 33-year-old villager Wang Xiaobing had both of his legs amputated because of a burn accident when he was 7 years old. Also, because his family was poor, he only achieved a middle school education before dropping out of school. With the help of the government, friends, and family, the physically handicapped but strong willed Wang Xiaobing learned how to fix shoes, fix locks, make keys and other trades. In 2011, with the support of the village cadre, Wang Xiaobing started a farm to raise sheep, got on the entrepreneurial path to wealth, and is known as the “legless tough guy [a man who doesn’t give up]” by the local people. Photo [above] is of July 14, as Wang Xiaobing climbs over into the sheep pen to feed the sheep. Xinhua News Agency journalist Yang Shiyao.


In the winter of 2008, Hunan Changsha young woman Li Chengmei was moved by him [Wang Xiaobing] and came to Zhangjiakou from afar to marry Wang Xiaobing. Now, they son is already 5 years old, and wife Li Chengmei works in Beijing. July 14, Wang Xiaobing (second from right) and his father chop fodder for the sheep, while his 5-year-old son squats beside him watching. Photos by Xinhua News Agency reporter Yang Shiyao.


July 14, Wang Xiaobing helping dress his just awoken child.


July 10, Wang Xiaobing taking his son to climb the Zhangjiakou Dajingmen Great Wall.


July 10, Wang Xiaobing pruning his apricot tree.


July 14, Wang Xiaobing climbs over into the sheep pen to feed his sheep.

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July 14, Wang Xiaobing feeding his sheep.

A Chinese man in Hebei has no legs but it hasn't stopped him from making a good life for himself.

July 14, Wang Xiaobing feeding his sheep.

Comments from QQ:


A life without an arm or leg can also be wonderful, and your lives are truly touching, your bodies handicapped but not your wills/ambitions. For those of us who spend all day complaining about life, what is there for us to complain about now? This tough guy is impressive, and the woman who married him is also the world’s most beautiful.


In the photo where he is in front of his son helping him dress, his height is shorter than his son, but I believe the image of him must be very tall/lofty in his son’s heart! May this strong and persevering father’s family be happy and blessed!


What makes life wonderful lies not in material wealth but in one’s attitude towards life! You’ve used your own way to make an an entire family’s life happy, so thank you for reminding me of those who have silently provided for me! Jia you!


[This] is more persuasive than any speech giver, a living lesson, an extremely infectious inspirational story. I hope this can get more media attention.


Praise! Praise! Praise! Because of a car accident in ’09, my left leg was cut off, and as a result, my entire life dithered for two years, at the time feeling my life had come to a complete stop. Fortunately, I eventually got past that period. Every time I see this sort of news and as a disabled person, I am filled with heartfelt admiration. He is a good example, and must be upvoted [praised]!


This guy has no legs and still has lives a wonderful life. Now look at all those complainers who have all four limbs and spend all day holding their mobile phones complaining about the country and complaining about society as if the entire world owes them. Look carefully, a beautiful life is one achieved through one’s own struggles, not through blaming the heavens and other people.


There should be more of this kind of positive news, to give people courage and strength in life. Don’t always report about this or that celebrity gossip.


Let’s also give some praise to the Hunan girl.


I am the same age as him, yet do not have the staunch perseverance and spirit he has. Why are there so few people paying attention to this kind of “positive energy” [positive thing] in society??

Now this is what a real man is like, that many people of sound and robust body are unable to live up to. Don’t complain about how there are too many manly women. If men get tougher, then there will be less manly women naturally. Men these days are too weak and frail, committing suicide or taking revenge on society the moment they encounter some minor setback or difficulty, not hesitating to get on their knees in the pursuit of women. Look at this legless man and how he lives.

Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.

  • What a touching story

  • JabroniZamboni

    Full respect. You don’t need legs to get a leg up on the world.

  • mr.wiener

    You make a good point.
    Still …full marks to the fella. Whether he is used as some kind of PR stunt example or not ,he has made his own way in the world.

  • nita

    This is an uplifting story and all, but is it really that unusual? I had a coworker without legs, he was an excellent and conscientious employee, and so I was under the impression that people without legs are still able to function well. One of my college classmates had cystic fibrosis and had an oxygen tank with her at all times. There are many people overcoming serious obstacles every day. But I guess Chinese people with disabilities don’t have access to the same medical care or resources to help them be able to function. And with no law like the ADA prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities and requiring employers to make reasonable accommodations, I can see how it would be much rarer for a disabled person to succeed in China.

    • JabroniZamboni

      They are often pointed at, and ridiculed. It is quite sad.

    • Rick in China

      “prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities and requiring employers to make reasonable accommodations”

      Actually, in China, companies with employees numbering a certain amount are required to hire people with disabilities (they also use ranking scales to determine which people qualify for this, measured in degrees of severity and degrees of severity within those degrees). Most companies aim for people with specific disabilities (like the deaf, for example, seem to be a first popular choice) that can function well in a specific role matching their requirements, and only hire to the extent of meeting the quota, but the government _has_ at least made recognition of attempting to force employers to include people with disabilities. I suppose this isn’t the _same_, but, it’s not as bad as many people may think.

      Beyond gov’t regulation and employment (which is a crucial part of inclusion in society. I think Penn Jillette sponsors and holds close to his heart an organisation about employment for disabled people as a means of giving them the basic fulfillment of gainful employment, “Opportunity Village”), I believe that it’s a serious issue for Chinese society on whole. Not only is it important to change the mindset that disabilities create enormous burdens on families and societies, but that people with disabilities are _not_ to be gawked at, ridiculed, dismissed, or treated any differently just because of their disability. This story is a great push towards that kind of change. I feel truly blessed that my immediate family doesn’t suffer from any sort of debilitating disability, but do have extended family members who have children, for example, with diseases that make them seem very different — and applaud the support, the embracing and life changing unconditional love that comes with needing to facilitate something so unexpected and undesired. I don’t think the ADA can provide that – but rather, stories like this, and circumstance to facilitate this kind of story.

      If there is political motive behind this, that doesn’t matter at all to me.. all that matters is that it makes positive change in the right ways, and has helped at least one man _be a person_ like the rest of us, as he should have always been.

      • ninxay

        The guy also has monster biceps…

        You’re right about Chinese society’s view of the disabled. I guess the same could be said of many Asian societies that discriminate against the disabled but that unfortunate attitude could come from life already being hard for the able-bodied. I’m glad the government and local community helped to give this guy a chance at a decent life – society, politics and the economy should be about bringing everyone up instead of forcing people down.

        I just wish people in China would stop gawking at people, period. It’s not polite, you know.

      • nita

        I agree that people with disabled should not be treated any differently because of their disability, but companies being “forced” to hire quotas of disabled people seems contradictory to that notion. People with a disability may be just as qualified, or more qualified for a job, than non-disabled people. I guess it shows that the government cares about this issue, which is good, but quotas seem pretty stigmatizing, and are not at all in the civil rights spirit of the ADA.

        For example, quotas alone say nothing about whether discrimination is prohibited (are employers are allowed to discriminate against qualified people with disabilities after they’ve filled their quota?). Quotas alone say nothing about whether employers are allowed to discriminate against disabled employees in the workplace through wrongful termination, demotion, paying a lower salary, or other adverse employment action. Quotas also say nothing about whether public entities may discriminate against disabled people or whether disabled people have access to public facilities (like wheelchair ramps, elevators, etc). The ADA addresses all that and more,so the ADA was a huge civil rights stride for people with disabilities and the Chinese government has a long way to go in that respect.

        • mr.wiener

          Weirdest thing I ever saw in China was at BJ main station. A dwarf was tottering through on his little legs and a bunch of Chinese deaf people were gawking at him and frantically signing to each other and everyone else had stopped to stare at the deaf people.
          The little person ignored everyone and continued on his slow and difficult way…the only class act there.

          • Rick in China

            Maybe the deaf people saw him in some sort of danger and were frantically trying to figure out what to do.

            Sarcasm aside, it sounds like a 3 ring circus experience.. it sounds strikingly similar, for some reason, to this story which happened in Xinjiang:

            A backhoe (I don’t know what it was, kinda like a mini dirt digging machine) was digging up some sort of mud pack against a wall, a fat kid was watching the backhoe. I was watching the whole situation. The backhoe managed to try to manoeuvre too much shit at once, and at a weird angle, tipped over. The fat kid started laughing hysterically at the backhoe tipping over infront of him. Suddenly his fat leg fell knee deep into a sort of SINK HOLE and he was crying. I then burst out laughing, quickly stopping, looking beneath my feet to make sure it wasn’t going to also give way in the most ironic way possible.

          • ninxay

            When will most people in China realize that it’s not polite to stare at anyone for any reason? I’ve had old ladies stop and gawk at me because I, Mr. Foreigner was talking in English with my local friends. Do I have extra eyes on stalks above my head? I’ve seen African guys stared at like they’re from another planet. Disabled people get the same treatment too.

            That’s just sad. It’s also a form of discrimination.

          • firebert5

            I go along with it. I have steadily built up my staring contest ability by staring equally hard at those who gawk at me because I’m a foreigner. The most epic example was about a year ago on an hour long bus ride in which I actually got a seat for once (it was a lesser used bus and barely anyone on it). A middle aged guy across from me turned in his seat toward me and just started staring. So I turned toward him and just stared back. For an hour. Sadly, I broke eye contact first because I had reached my stop, but I have regretted it ever since because I wasn’t really in a hurry to get to my destination. I should have seen the bus and the staring contest to the end. Well played, middle aged staring man. I salute your staring ability and I only hope that one day, I too will possess such amazing staring prowess.

          • Rick in China

            You seriously stared into a middle-aged bus riders eyes for a long period of time? Damn, I can’t do it. A major feeling of awkwardness and “what the fuck is wrong with you” washes over me and I have to exit the situation…

          • moop

            i normally say 有什么鸡巴好看的? actually i normally don’t do anything, maybe stare back at them until they get uncomfortable

          • Probotector

            Fucking amazing. Did you ever actually say that? What was the response?

          • ClausRasmussen

            Just ignore it or briefly acknowledge their presence with a nod or a smile, then continue with what you’re doing.

            As long as they’re not ridiculing you, there is absolutely no harm in it.

          • KamikaziPilot

            Agree with you. To me complaining about staring as a foreigner is like desperately searching for something to complain about. The key thing is it’s not hostile (in most cases) sometimes it’s even in admiration. I think you have the right attitude, unlike a lot of other posters here. Try being Asian who doesn’t speak Chinese in China then you’ll discover a whole nother meaning of the word “discrimination” and even hatred.

          • Da didi

            I don’t think so. It’s complained about because it makes people uncomfortable. If you stare back without looking away, they too start to look uncomfortable. It’s about some people not giving a shit about other people, that’s my definition of bad manners.

          • KamikaziPilot

            Based on that logic when my fellow Americans ask me “where I’m from” I also consider that bad manners since it makes me feel uncomfortable.

          • Teacher in China

            Yeah it seriously drives me bonkers. Saw a guy a few months ago absolutely covered in tattoos (even on his head!) and not a single person stared at him as he walked down the sidewalk. Yet I get gawked at like I’m a travelling freak show. It’s so much worse in the small towns than it ever was in BJ, and I hate it. I agree that there’s an element of discrimination in it, but also it’s just plain ole “Gee, paw, lookit, there’s one of them forenerz we see on the TV sometimes!”

        • Rick in China

          You’re making a poor presumption.

          Your presumption is that by my description of “quota”, that the limitation of the gov’t/law is to prescribe companies to hiring 1 person per x workers. It’s not _that simple_, there are absolutely laws in place in addition to just having to hire disabled people at certain size increments. I wouldn’t say that I know enough about the details to make a compelling discussion here, but I do recall some specifics, and was pleasantly surprised at their existence at all in China.

  • Imagine if he still had his legs. That’s right, a nobody lel

    • Raymond

      I’m sorry about your current condition. Maybe you should chop off your legs and be like him.

    • I’m simply pointing out something that I guess not everyone would be willing to realize.

      Being a sheep farmer is not an extraordinary act, but performing that function while being severely handicapped is. Which is why the sheep farmers who are not handicapped are not glorified in the Chinese media. They remain nameless like you and I who are not legless.

      He is an inspiration, don’t get me wrong, however, I feel it may be of some use to point out the mechanisms of the news media.

      • Rick in China

        Nobody gives a shit that he farms sheep.

        The reason it’s interesting is because he _is_ legless. Your logic shows that you’re also severely disabled, as in, fuckin retarded. Saying he wouldn’t be glorified if he had 2 legs is like saying nobody would know Obama if he wasn’t the President, and he’d remain nameless like you and I who are not the president. HE HAS NO LEGS. HE IS DOING SOMETHING UNEXPECTED. For those reasons, it is a great story. You’re not pointing out anything insightful, but rather, detracting from the reality of the situation and saying the media is the problem for not glorifying people who are NOT legless? I don’t even understand your point with that.

        • You know, Rick, I have a lot of respect for you, you are active on this site and you make plenty great posts. In my area of study (avant-garde cinema), it is useful to point out seemingly obvious and banal things because, surprisingly, they often get overlooked. Now, you may not find much value in making these apparently redundant observations, which I’m completely ok with, but I hope that my observations can serve some purpose for others who are also critical of how the media operates.

          I understand that from my post one can assume that I consider “namelessness” as an injury of some sort, as something that carries negative connotations. But I don’t. I do not consider the media at fault for failing to do something at all. The mainstream media produces in a way it’s designed to produce and this act in itself is inherently neutral. If we were to criticize it we’d have to do it with some sort of moral context, something I encourage myself to avoid.

          Thanks for replying btw, as I’m still trying to work out my own ideas regarding media it’s always useful to be engaged by others.

          • Rick in China

            That clears it up a lot more… I was just being aggressive as usual, mostly only because of the original post’ seemingly aggressive stance against this definitively strong willed seemingly good guy, ala “a nobody, lel”, and thought it only right to return the mockery with mockery and maybe start an interesting conversation in the process.. but while I took your first post in a mocking tone, I think your follow-ups show more valuable insight.

          • ninxay

            “Severely disabled as in fuckin’ retarded” is way too harsh, man. I too have a lot of respect for your writing but making fun of a disability, real or perceived, is taking it too far.

            Maybe living in China gives you a short temper… It sure as hell has happened to me! Some chilled maotai should calm things down.

          • Rick in China

            I know how it comes off. I’m actually not an angry person, quite calm and collected… and incredibly patient – but when I write here, I tend to write in this type of fashion.. part of the whole reason I take part in this site’s forums is to elicit response and create a stir which may result in discussion – sometimes to gain insight or knowledge myself, sometimes purely for amusement.

          • Kai

            Whoa, you’re basically saying you engage in trolling (saying things you don’t mean in order to elicit negative reactions for amusement).

            Yeah, we’d all prefer if you didn’t do that.

          • Rick in China

            Do I really need to point out your false statement? *sigh*.

            No, Kai, I never said I “say things I don’t mean”. I said that my writing style intends to elicit response to create a star which may result in discussion. Do you really think that rephrasing and throwing your own shit into my mouth to constitute trolling is less than trolling in of itself? Hm.. ironic.

          • Kai

            So tell me another way to interpret it.

            I interpreted you as saying you consciously (“i know how it comes off”) write in a “type of fashion” that does not actually reflect who you are in real life (“not an angry person, quite calm and collected…and incredibly patient”) “to elicit response and create a stir” “sometimes purely for amusement”.

            I’m not ignoring that you sometimes do so to create discussion for your own insight or knowledge, but tell me another way to interpret what you’ve written. Either you’re saying things you don’t mean or what you write DOES reflect you, and you’re often the “angry person” who isn’t “calm and collected” nor “incredibly patient”.

            I’ve interpreted the behavior you described of yourself to be trolling. I’ve now just articulated why I arrived at that interpretation. Please feel free to argue how my reasoning is faulty.

            Up till now, I’ve just thought you to be an angry person who isn’t calm and collected and isn’t incredibly patient. That explains your behavior. Now you’re claiming that’s not what you’re really like but you come off that way on here intentionally, and part of the reason is “purely for amusement”. That’s pretty much the definition of “trolling”, dude.

          • Rick in China

            No, Kai. I’m surprised you can be so small minded on this type of topic. Let me *attempt* to penetrate, a little, if I may.

            Some people write with something called exclamation or emphasis.. sometimes, the purpose of this, is to represent emotion or enhance the seriousness something is to be interpreted. My exclamation or emphasis may be often interpreted as over the top, and sometimes it is. That’s my writing style – on this site, especially. It does not mean I write falsely or intentionally troll people with devil’s advocate bullshit just to make people angry, it does..however, mean that I occasionally over emphasise things, like, for example, I may say “Fuck that shit” instead of “I disagree”.

            Does that make any fucking sense or am I babbling? Please don’t make me waste more time explaining something I though to be extremely obvious. WRITING STYLE==AGGRESSIVE!=TROLLING.

          • ninxay

            Grab that cold Paulaner and go time-out in the corner :)

            OK, you do bring up salient points, but the aggression needs to be toned down a bit. I also love a good debate but it’s more fun when things are kept civil. Does that make sense? Stiff residual upper lip on my part.

          • Rick in China

            I understand your preference, and I may make a conscious effort towards that direction, I suppose it depends on the environment I’m in…because it seems this is an exclusively ChinaSmack persona that’s being presented.

            I’m into 3rd Asahi, it’s Friday, we drink on Fridays! I do, however, refuse to ‘time-out’.

          • ninxay

            Cheers mate! There’s room for a few more Asahis in there… you know any good local brews that come in cans? Something Carrefour or Wal-Mart would stock.

          • Rick in China

            Chengdu has lots of local brews actually, several bars opened with their own local brews as well — and waifood.com imports TONS of very specific boutique beers. BROOKLYN ALE. No shit. It gets pricy though. :D I just had a 900kuai shipment of goods arrive at my place today actually.. lots of corn chips (baby loves them when they’re softened), various meats, other chips, parmesan, and most importantly: lots of beers. I especially like ordering the Royal Dutch 12% / 16%. The 16% tastes fucking terrible, but it’s good to keep in the beer fridge for when other beers run out, and it’s late, they’re sure to finish ya off for a good sleep.

          • ninxay

            My tastes run more towards dark, strong stouts with German priestly dudes on the can. Occasionally I’ll go for light pale ales after getting my insides scoured by a thermonuclear-grade hotpot. I’ll check out waifood, thanks!

          • Kai


            8. (intransitive, Internet slang) In an online community or discussion, (to post inflammatory material so as) to attempt to lure others into combative argument for purposes of personal entertainment and/or gratuitous disruption. [from late 20th c.]

            9. (transitive, Internet slang) By extension, to incite anger (outside of an internet context); to provoke, harass or annoy.

            I think what you’ve euphemized as “exclamation or emphasis” falls into the definition of trolling. The crux of meeting the definition is the motivation behind the behavior, (“to elicit response and create a stir…sometimes purely for amusement”).

            There are many ways of trolling and I’m not saying you troll like certain other people do (“devil’s advocate bullshit just to make people angry”). I’m saying you fit the definition of trolling because you are explicitly saying you write in a certain way knowing how it comes off to ellicit reactions sometimes purely for amusement.

            You can beg differences but you cannot deny how what you’ve said echoes the specific elements that make up the definition of trolling.

            I don’t think I’m misrepresenting what you’ve said. If you want to say there are worse trolling and worse trolls, sure, no disagreement there, but I don’t think my application of the word “trolling” is demonstratably wrong. Since I’m already repeating myself now, I’ll leave others to judge the validity of this argument.

            Prior to this, know that I never thought you a troll. I thought what I considered to be your overreactions and hyperaggressiveness to simply be an aspect of your personality. Sure, you rub people the wrong way in doing so, sometimes lashing out at them unfairly, but that’s who you genuinely were as far as I could tell. Maybe it’s a character flaw–god knows we all have some–but that was you.

            There’s a difference between saying “I know I come off that way here but that’s not how I always am or that’s not all there is to me” and “I know I come off that way and I tend to write that way here to elicit reactions sometimes purely for amusement”. The former can be chalked up to heat of the moment knee-jerk emotions. The latter is literally a conscious choice in behavior. “Trolling” is all about a conscious choice in behavior.

          • Rick in China

            If you choose to use boundaries of a definition and snippets of conversation to label me a troll, then according to what you’ve posted above and your understanding of the definition, then yes – I would absolutely meet that definition in some instances.

            Got me.

          • Kai

            I don’t accept the insinuation that I quoted you out of context; I even went out of my way to explicitly acknowledge the parts I left out of my quoting of you.

            Your overall sarcasm aside, I don’t WANT to label you a troll, Rick. As I said, I never thought you to be one. But here you said something that very clearly echoes the definition of trolling, and I pointed that out with a light-touch. If I don’t say it, someone else will, and I know you longer than most on here.

          • I understood your point, and I think it was very insightful. The mundane can be extraordinary under the right circumstances. This insight allows us to not take our health and abilities for granted. Stories such as this man’s help me to appreciate the ease at which I am able to do the seemingly mundane.

            I personally do not think you should be quite so accepting of Rick’s hostility, which borders on verbal abuse. A difference of opinion does not need to involve calling people “fuckin retarded”. It’d be one thing if he called you that in response to your original comment, which admittedly could be easily misconstrued, but your subsequent comment clarifying your original comment made it quite clear that you were not just trolling or being obnoxious.

  • God bless this man and his family.
    These are real China stories, too. For those who only enter the site to talk shit about the country.

    • ninxay

      The photo of him dressing his son is beautifully poignant. No matter what happened to him, he’s still a strong, caring dad who wants the best for his son. A disabled Chinese farmer has the same hopes, dreams and worries that you and I have.

    • Chaz

      This story was obviously written by the local party rag to make themselves look good. See how many references to government and cadre helping him in glowing terms? Pure b.s.
      I bet the government goons shake the poor sap down every day for “tea money” or “contributions”.

      • ninxay

        Maybe, just maybe, he’s got village cadre who actually give a damn about taking care of villagers instead of making a quick buck like most of the Party.

        One can only hope.

        • firebert5

          They are rare, but they do exist. I hope his son follows his Dad’s example and have a quality work ethic when he grows up. It would be really nice too if the system wouldn’t work against them so much.

          • Hank

            Not exactly rare in very rural areas, where there is a pseudo form of democracy. Any one abusing their power in those small villages would quickly get lynched by a mob. Usually it’s someone quite popular in charge.

  • KamikaziPilot

    I’ve always admired mental toughness far more than physical toughness and that’s what I see here. While I only know what I’ve read in this story, and realize that this guy really has no choice but to live like this, he could have given up and felt sorry for himself. This shows once again that attitude and perspective is huge when it comes to how happy and content you are with life.

  • SonofSpermcube

    China discovers inspiration porn.

  • Hank

    Ya’ll see the guns on this man?

  • BillBo

    Not to take anything away from this man because he is inspiring, but this is what humans do… they adapt and survive.

  • Dr Sun

    This guy has no legs and still has lives a wonderful life. Now look at all those complainers who have all four limbs and spend all day holding their mobile phones complaining about the country and complaining about society as if the entire world owes them. Look carefully, a beautiful life is one achieved through one’s own struggles, not through blaming the heavens and other people.

  • RAWR2123

    Look at the width of his arms… If he’s using his arms to get around without leg prosthetic, he must be ripped…