Guangxi 'cave dwellers' reluctant to go back home, or do they have a home anyway?


Chinese Society  Updated:Mon, Jan 13, 2014 19:12 PM   By Bernd Chang


Four old men living in mountain caves in Laibin city in Guangxi reluctant to go home even though relief station officials urge them.

Recently some netizen revealed that there lived several old tramps in the mountain caves by the Hongshui River (or Red Water River) in the vicinity of the People’s Park in Laibin city, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southwest China.

The online revelation made a stir among the local residents and prompted relief station officials of the city to pay visits to the "cave dwellers".

Hiding in the mountains by the Hongshui River, the natural caves are almost completely inaccessible except one narrow dust road leading to them. The largest caves have an area of nearly one hundred square meters while the smallest ones are only enough for one bed to be placed.

The Laibin relief station officials and reporters from Nanning-based Modern Life Daily conducted an investigation and found four old men in their fifties and sixties live in the caves. Among the  four caves, two are even more isolated from the outside world and can only be found after climbing over a steep rock wall.

All the four "cave dwellers" are from rural areas of Guangxi but from different counties. 

The four cave dwellers are 60 years old Huang Shangcha from Wuxuan county, 62 years old Tan Yuanhong from Liucheng county, 60 years old Wei Long from the same city of Laibin, and 54 years old Chen Wen from Binyang county.

To the disappointment and surprise of the Laibin relief officials, three of the four old men living in the caves refused to go back home although traveling expenditure are provided.

62 years old Tan Yuanhon had a strong desire to go back home because it is freezing cold in his cave home in winter. He chose to roam because his stepson treated him badly. He is the only one that accepted assistance of the relief station of Laibin to leave for home.

60 years old Huang Shangcha is still a single man and has no home in his hometown Shuangxue village, Luxin town, Wuxuan county. He has a brother, sister and two nephews. Before he found shelter in the Laibin caves, he lived with his nephew.

Huang Shangcha asked civil affairs officials to build a house for him, and persuade his nephew to accept him, and provide basic living subsidy if they insisted in repatriating him to his hometown.

60 years old Wei Long has a family with three children. He said he got used to the life as a vagrant and refused to take the free bus provided by the relief station to go back home for fear of "losing face".

54 years of Chen Wen is the youngest among the four "cave dwellers". He appears to suffer from mental retardation. He even does not know where he exactly comes from. The residence he wrote down has been found inexistent. He said his family treated him badly and he himself did not like his family either.

All the four old tramps make a living by recycling straps and three of them are drunkard, according to Modern Life Daily.

In December 2013, impoverished Beijing well dwellers lose the last shelters overnight as officials rushed to seal them up with concrete after media report, will the three old men be expelled from their caves?

Our fear finally proves to be well-founded. All the three "cave dwellers" were on the way home thanks to the efforts of the relief station officials, Modern Life Daily reported on Sunday, January 12, 2014.

Chen Wen is actually named Chen Wenyi comes from Donglan county, Hechi city. He lost his way four years ago after visiting his sister in Binyang county four years ago.

Chen Wenyi was brought back by his brother-in-law Tan Minkang on January 11.

Huang Shangcha and Wei Long were both brought back by officials from their respective hometowns. Whether it is of or against their own will, is unknown.

[Images via and]

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