CHINA / Regional

Immigrant reported dead of overwork; 2nd this year
(Shanghai Star)
Updated: 2006-05-10 11:20

Thirty-one-year-old Shanghainese immigrant Feng Bo was found dead in his house in Toronto, Canada on April 9, reported the Singdao Daily.

This is the third Chinese immigrant who reportedly died from overwork in Canada during the past year, according to the Shanghai-based Oriental Morning Post.

According to China's consulate-general in Toronto, Feng's parents arrived in Toronto on the morning of May 5 to deal with his affairs.

Feng, former excellent teacher of Shanghai Xiangming Middle School and "Pace-setter of the New Long March" (an honour awarded to those who made great achievements in their work), went to Canada to start his own computer and network store near the local Chinatown three years ago.

Feng bo, shanghainese, immigrant, canada, overwork
Feng Bo
Life for immigrants was by no means an easy one. To build his business, Feng worked day and night nearly every day and devoted all his time to the operation of the store.

At the beginning of the business, he overcame a variety of difficulties and persisted in doing everything by himself, from the selection of the store location to the interior decorating. In order to save money, he lived in the basement of the store and ate instant noodles for his daily meals.

According to Tang Jun, a business acquaintance, Feng had been dead 15-16 hours before Tang found his body.

"It was Saturday when the tragedy happened," recalled Tang. "The store opened at 11 o'clock as usual that day, but Feng didn't appear at that time. By the time the store closed late that night, he hadn't appeared, which was unusual for Feng. When I went to fetch something at his home, I was shocked to find Feng unconscious on his bed in the basement."

Tang added that Feng looked extremely tired just days before, when the store was exceptionally busy.

Feng's parents are retired workers who put most of their savings into their son's business. They sold some of their valuables and borrowed from relatives to raise money for funeral expenses.

Feng's mother said that when she saw the boxes of instant noodles in Feng's house, her sorrow was beyond words.

The Chinese Immigrants Emergency Relief Fund has decided to raise money for the family and has opened a hotline for donations.

Local police have excluded the possibility of murder or suicide for Feng's death in a preliminary investigation, but said further analysis could take three to four months.

With an increasing number of immigrants who have died from overwork, experts have expressed concern about the health of the vast numbers of immigrants who bear too large a workload when they go abroad.

On March 23, 38-year-old Wang Jun from Beijing died suddenly in his home in Toronto. Just one year before, Jiang Yu, a 24-year-old student from Changsha of Central China's Hunan Province also died suddenly working a part-time job in a restaurant in Guelph City, Canada.

Feng was another example of someone who took no care of his health and worked too hard. According to his friend, it was quite usual for Feng to go to sleep at 3 or 4 in the morning and eat irregularly.

Every year, tens of thousands of Chinese mainlanders emigrate to Canada. But the number of those who have gone as technical emigrants has declined in the last few years, since the Canadian Government toughened relevant laws.