China’s ‘Frost Boy’ and his rural village are beneficiaries of public outpouring

Society & Culture

Remember Frost Boy? The 8-year-old whose hair became a floret of frost after trekking 4.5 kilometers (2.7 miles) to school in subfreezing temperatures is now in a good place, thanks to direct donations — to the tune of 8,000 yuan ($1,246) — from individuals and organizations across the country.

The boy, Wang Fuman 王福满, is a third grader at a primary school in Ludian County, Yunnan Province. After becoming an online sensation due to this photo —

Frost Boy China

— more information has come out about him: He is one of the most diligent students at school; he aspires to be a police officer or a scientist; and his parents are migrant workers in first-tier cities, which makes him a typical left-behind child residing in a rural area without sufficient parental care.

He has also become a celebrity of sorts, after being interviewed by outlets across the country, including CCTV (“I’ve fallen before [on my way to school],” a soft-spoken and eloquent Wang says as he navigates an arduous terrain with a reporter, “but I still go to school to study”). The official Weibo account of the Chinese People’s Public Security University also did this:

Standing at an altitude of approximately 2,800 meters (9,186 feet), Wang’s school lies in a remote mountain region and is one of the 36 poverty-stricken schools in the region. On January 9, representatives from the Yunnan branch of the Communist Youth League sent 100,000 yuan ($15,600) to the school, along with 144 sets of warm clothing and 20 heating units donated by a company, which also offered Wang’s father a job close to his home.

According to Chen Furong 陈富荣, director of the Education Bureau in Ludian County, the Yunnan Youth Development Foundation has collected more than 300,000 yuan ($46,743) following news of Wang’s plight. Wang received 500 yuan ($78) from the foundation, and the rest of the money will be divided among students in need. Chen also noted that all 85 severely impoverished children in Ludian County have received assistance from the local government.

“I am delighted that so many uncles and aunts have helped me. I received lots of gifts,” said the Frost Boy himself, Wang Fuman. And to our relief and joy, judging from photos of him released on January 16, he is now adequately dressed for the freezing weather, with a set of thick clothes, gloves, and — most importantly — a warm hat.