Han Zicheng, the 85-year-old Chinese man who put himself up for adoption because he was afraid of dying alone, has passed away in the company of hospital staff.
Zicheng was a survivor of the Japanese invasion, the Chinese civil war, and the Cultural Revolution. Still, he knew he didn't want to suffer the despair of living out his final days alone.
A heartbreaking story by @emilyrauhala about a Chinese man afraid of dying alone. At 85, he put himself up for adop… https://t.co/tmcRZqtSvb— Sara Blask (@Sara Blask) 1525323307.0
As a cry for help, he penned a makeshift advertisement seeking adoption by gathering scraps of white paper, writing, "Looking for someone to adopt me," according to the Washington Post.
Lonely old man in his 80s. Strong-bodied. Can shop, cook and take care of himself. No chronic illness. I retired from a scientific research institute in Tianjin, with a monthly pension of 6,000 RMB [$950] a month.
I won't go to a nursing home. My hope is that a kindhearted person or family will adopt me, nourish me through old age and bury my body when I'm dead.
The one-child policy in China turned the population on its head with a 15% demographic over the age of 60. The United Nations published a report saying China has a rapidly aging population larger than any other country's, and the elder population of China will rise by 25% by 2040.
@emilyrauhala @yancongphoto The story of Han Zicheng is sad, and I see shades of America in the story. Living alone… https://t.co/GH9Qtc51Hz— Rodent Of Unusual Size (@Rodent Of Unusual Size) 1525254886.0
The shrinking demographic is becoming a crisis that threatens the Chinese economy, with businesses relying on fewer workers.
What's more, an entire generation of single children are suddenly finding themselves obligated to visit and care for their aging parents since the Chinese government enacted the "Elderly Rights Law" in 2013.
A woman noticed Zicheng's advertisement and snapped a photo for social media posting in the hopes that "warmhearted people can help." According to Newsweek, Jiang Jiang, a 20-year-old law student, was moved by Zicheng's flier and called the number. She spoke to him on March 13.
When she called again a few days later, Zicheng's son, Han Chang, answered and informed Jiang that his father had passed away on March 17, living his finals days in a hospital.
@yoopermomma Han Zicheng has ceased to fear the embrace that seeks us all. RIP.— Tale ❀ Feathers (@Tale ❀ Feathers) 1525305588.0
I'm not crying, you're crying https://t.co/6hU5hED97r— Sophia Phan (@Sophia Phan) 1525315443.0
H/T - YouTube, Newsweek, WashingtonPost, Twitter