Mother Crawling On Knees In Guangzhou Was A Publicity Stunt

Chinese mother Xie Sanxiu in Guangzhou, crawling on her knees in hopes of getting a donation from a rich netizen to help save her baby daughter's life.

Chinese mother Xie Sanxiu in Guangzhou, crawling on her knees in hopes of getting a donation from a rich netizen to help save her baby daughter's life.

From ifeng and KDNet:

Loving mother believes joke by “Rich Son”, crawls 1000 meters on her knees to get money for medical expenses

Yesterday afternoon, on Guangzhou Avenue heading towards the sports center, a mother carrying a 6-month-old daughter suffering eye cancer was walking on her knees. The reason for her doing this was because a netizen named “Rich Son of Guangzhou” [“广州的富家公子”] had said that if she can carry her child and crawl on her knees on Guangzhou Avenue to the sports center, he would immediately have someone meet her there and donate 20,000 yuan. Perhaps you would laugh at this woman for being so foolish, but she said as long as there is a sliver of hope to save her baby, she’s willing to try anything. However, this reporter learned last night that netizen “Rich Son of Guangzhou” had no plans of keeping his promise.

Mother Xie Sanxiu resting on some steps during her mission to crawl 1000m along Guangzhou Avenue in hopes of getting a donation from a wealthy young man.

Mother Xie Sanxiu resting on some steps during her mission to crawl 1000m along Guangzhou Avenue in hopes of getting a donation from a wealthy young man online.

This story began when the mother, Xie Shanxiu, made an internet post titled “Beg society’s kind-hearted people to save baby with eye cancer” on the popular Chinese internet discussion forum Tianya. In the post, the mother explains her newborn baby daughter’s unfortunate medical condition (cancer relating to her eye that threatens not only her vision but also her life) and how her and her husband’s efforts to treat and save her daughter’s life have bankrupted the couple’s already impoverished financial situation.

Below is a photo of Xie Sanxiu’s daughter Hou Shanshan. She also included other scanned documents to prove her story and their need for help:

Hou Shanshan has cancer on her eye.

From Guangzhou Daily & KDNet:

Most netizens expressed sympathy towards what has happened to Xie Sanxiu’s child. But amongst them was a netizen named “Rich Son of Guangzhou” who said to Xie Sanxiu: “With so many people in the world who need help, why should you be helped?” Then, he said: “In this society not every person is this society is kind-hearted. You say you are willing to exchange your life for your child’s health, but it’s easy to say such things, so who would believe you? If you’re serious/able, crawl 1,000 meters on a Guangzhou street and I will immediately donate 20,000 yuan to you.”

A netizen angrily said: “Regardless of whether or not you can help this baby, you still don’t need to say this kind of thing. It will just hurt the baby’s mother.”

However, in order to save her child, Xie Sanxiu didn’t express any anger, and instead said: “Regardless of wind or rain, I must go. As long as I can save my baby, I’m willing to do anything. I hope “Rich Son of Guangzhou” you will honor your promise.

Yesterday afternoon at 2 o’clock Xie Sanxiu, carrying her child, arrived at the Guangzhou Avenue bus station, got down on her knees and began walking forward.

Pedestrians around her cast her strange looks, but she completely ignored them. This reporter asked her whether she knew how to contact “Rich Son of Guangzhou”. She said she didn’t know. “As long as I can save my baby, as long as there is a sliver of hope, I will try anything.”

After some passersby learned about her situation, they began giving money generously, giving 20, 50, 100, 300 yuan of varying donation amounts to Xie Sanxiu.

At around 5 o’clock yesterday afternoon, a young man who claimed to be the moderator/administrator of the Tianya G4 Online forum appeared before Xie Sanxiu. After learning who this reporter was, he said: “Hurry and tell her that ‘Rich Son of Guangzhou already knows what she is doing, and he wants her to stop crawling on her knees, that he will find a solution for the money problem.”

But Xie Sanxiu did not pay any attention, and insisted on crawling on her knees to the sports center before she would stop. The Tianya G4 Online forum moderator said that even though “Rich Son of Guangzhou” said that he would find a way, he did not explicitly say he would donated 20,000 yuan.

One hour later, the Tianya G4 Online forum moderator contacted this reporter and said: “I have some bad news. I’ve contacted ‘Rich Son of Guangzhou’ to verify the matter of donation, but he said, ‘I won’t donate any money, she was just asking for it.'” Later, the Tianya G4 Online forum moderator again contacted this reporter , “When I tried to contact ‘Rich Son of Guangzhou’ again, he was already ignoring me.”

A passerby hands some money to help Xie Sanxiu, a mother who crawled 1000 meters on her knees along Guangzhou Avenue seeking help for her daughter with eye cancer.

From VOC:

Moderator who planned “mother crawls on knees” stunt dismissed, Shilehui has already received 50,000 in donations

Beginning from the day before yesterday, a heartless netizen named “Rich Son of Guangzhou” had a mother with a sick child crawl 1000 meters on her knees without keeping his promise to donate 20,000 yuan, angering many netizens. Afterward, the Tianya community confirmed that the “Rich Son of Guangzhou” who had tricked the poor mother was actually Tianya moderator “Jinquan Young Swordman” [“金泉少侠”].

Yesterday, this reporter began an investigation of this matter, discovering that this wasn’t as simple as a “trick”. The “Jinquan Young Swordman” who had orchestrated this from behind the scenes told this reporter that this was a publicity stunt that he had planned and with the mother Xie Sanxiu’s agreement, that Xie Sanxiu knew “Jinquan Young Swordman” was “Rich Son of Guangzhou” and also knew that the 20,000 was just a ploy in the publicity stunt. “Jinquan Young Swordman” says that doing this was ultimately so this mother and daughter can win the attention and concern of netizens. “Jinquan Young Swordman” admits this crosses the line, but he says there was no other way.

Jinquan Shaoxia, former Tianya G4 Online forum administrator.

Reporter interview with “Jinquan Young Swordsman”

Reporter: Why did you use a method that would provoke netizen anger?

Jinquan Young Swordsman: There are too many people who need help these days. If you don’t do it this way, you simply can’t get people’s attention.

Reporter: Now you’ve been removed from your moderator position, and have been condemned by netizens. Do you think it was worth it?

Jinquan Young Swordman: It was worth it. Though I regret that my identity was exposed, I achieved the result I was looking for, so I still feel it was worth it.

Reporter: Don’t you feel this kind of publicity stunt crosses the line?

Jinquan Young Swordsman: Yes, but I am not a master planner/schemer, I can’t think of a better method, I can only think of these sort of small clever tricks.

Jinquan Shaoxia, former Tianya G4 Online forum moderator, claims he orchestrated this publciity stunt to help Xie Sanxiu.

Comments from Sina:


Motherfucker, if you’re not going to help, then forget it! But what kind of man are you for bullying a woman?


If I see him, I’d beat him onto his knees. Don’t say it was good intentions, I can’t accept that, I maintain he deserves a beating.


If they didn’t do this publicity stunt to get attention, would she have gotten the help she needed?! I can only lament that this society is too realistic!


He had the right intentions, it’s just that the method was extreme…


This is the sadness of social problems! Helpless citizens ought to seek help from social welfare institutions, yet are forced to adopt these sort of extreme methods! Maybe this moderator himself simply wanted this result/effect, attracting the attention of the masses, using the power of society to help the mother…


Hiring human scum to be a moderator, Tianya, you are culpable too!


Without doing the publicity stunt, no one would’ve paid attention/took notice.


Society these days, just what is wrong with it? Fame these days, just what’s wrong with it all? For a so-called publicity stunt, willing to discard all humanity.


Toward this promoter, I pay my highest tribute, to have sacrificed his own reputation to get society’s concern, you are truly worthy of being an expert promoter.
If this person is a promoter, he couldn’t have not known that this would bring him serious consequences from arousing the anger of the masses and being human flesh searched. This is a classic example of a self-injury strategy/desperate measure.


Pro!~ Even if he himself is utterly discredited, he still succeeded. I admire him.


It’s very obvious that this is the Tianya website doing a publicity stunt for itself and have succeeded!!! Too inhuman!!!


No matter what, the mother is a great person to suffer this kind of humiliation for her child!


If the child’s illness can be cured, then it isn’t necessary to bicker [over the methods used]. Maybe everyone simply has different ways of thinking. Hope people with good hearts will be rewarded.

Carrying her baby daughter with eye cancer in her arms, Chinese mother Xie Sanxiu crawls 1000 meters along Guangzhou Avenue.

The original Tianya post now includes the following update:

Special notice: According to a Guangzhou Daily report, as of 9 o’clock on the morning of March 24th, Xie Sanxiu publicized that her personal bank account has received 214,937.95 yuan in donations. In addition, the Shilehui website [a charity platform that allows people to request help and help others] publicized that 72,864.00 RMB in donations have so far been collected for [Hou] Shanshan. Total donations has reached 287,801.95 RMB (not including in person donations and donations from other channels). The cost of the medical treatment has already basically been taken care of. Xie Sanxiu herself also hopes that everyone will stop donating.

Hou Shanshan's page on
Hou Shanshan's story on

Do the “ends justify the means” in this case? Do you think this publicity stunt to get other people’s attention to help her is right or wrong?


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.


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