An unlicensed motorbike taxi driver who put his two-year-old son on a chain outside a shopping mall while he was at work in Fangshan district has refused to accept aid from the local government.
The 42-year-old father, Chen Chuanliu, says he lost his four-year-old daughter last month and the extreme measure was the only way to keep his son safe.
Since Friday, he has been tethering the boy so he can leave to pick up customers.
He stopped the practice yesterday after an approach from the local government.
"My mentally disabled wife is not able to take care of my children and I have to work to support my family," he told METRO yesterday.
"I don't even have a picture of her to use for a missing person ad. I cannot lose my son as well."
Chen makes about 50 yuan a day from his unlicensed motorbike taxi service.
People have since offered him a lot of money in exchange for the adoption of his children but he has refused, a shop owner, surnamed Zhang, told METRO yesterday.
His 10-sq-m dark and smelly room is full of children's clothes donated by neighbors.
"He is a good guy and treats his children well, so many people would love to help the family," a male neighbor said.
The district government talked to Chen four times in 2009 and asked him to return to Sichuan, but he refused.
"At least I can make some money here. If I get sent back to my hometown in Sichuan province, I will have nothing," Chen said.
However, the district government says it does not have a suitable resolution to the problem and hopes society will help the family.
"They are not local residents, so the boy is not entitled to get into a public kindergarten," a director, surnamed Li, from the press office of Fangshan district government said at a press briefing yesterday.
"It is actually a social issue for migrant families in Beijing. We have migrant children's schools in the capital but not kindergartens. This boy was noticed because of the locked chain but, in fact, there are many little children from migrant families roaming around in Beijing who are not covered by the government's policy," the director added.
(China Daily 02/03/2010 page25)