China: Around The Nation

The heartbreaking story behind a 70-year-old Chinese woman’s delightful Minnie Mouse get-up

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 April, 2017, 12:07pm
UPDATED : Monday, 12 June, 2017, 12:53pm

A 70-year-old woman has been posing for photos in a Minnie Mouse costume to earn money for her family’s medical bills, according to Chinese media reports.

The woman, Ying Peizhi, a farmer from nearby Dezhou, posed with tourists at a park in Jinan, Shandong province, local news portal reported on Wednesday.

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Temperatures in Jinan have increased rapidly recently, and have the number of visitors to the park. Many people were attracted by the Minnie costume, which was not authorised for such use by the Walt Disney Company, with some willing to pay from one to five yuan (15-73 US cents) to take photos with the famous cartoon character.

For Ying, the job is more difficult than labouring in the fields. According to the report, each time a child came near, Ying bent down to talk with them, then posed as demanded.

The costume was weighty and the cartoon head trapped heat inside so she was soon soaked in sweat, and had to take regular breaks in the shade.

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Ying said her husband suffered from heart disease and couldn’t work, and had to take medication regularly to keep him alive. The majority of the family income came from her son and daughter-in-law, who grew crops and also did some odd jobs off the farm.

Last year her daughter-in-law was hit by a car, Ying said, and she was still in a coma in a hospital in Jinan. Ying first donned the mouse costume after her daughter-in-law was admitted to hospital.

Ying said she borrowed the costume from a show business company. Though the job was difficult for an old woman, she said she hoped the extra income could help save her family, which was close to financial collapse.