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China: Around The Nation

Viral images of beer-swigging, tightrope-walking Chinese boy, 6, invite critics

Photographs of youngster’s impressive balancing act are a huge hit online, but not everyone approves of his dad’s relaxed parenting style

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 June, 2017, 4:07pm
UPDATED : Friday, 16 June, 2017, 5:07pm

A six-year-old boy from southwest China has become an internet sensation after images of him drinking beer and walking on tightropes went viral.

Wang Wang, as the youngster is known, first rose to fame in January when pictures of him walking along the top wire of a cable fence over a levee in his village were uploaded to the internet, Chengdu Economic Daily reported on Wednesday.

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The boy’s father, Zhang Yu, was quoted as saying that he began teaching Wang Wang the art of funambulism last year, and that the youngster now has more than 50,000 followers on a live-streaming platform.

It is not clear who first posted the images, but the child’s mother said it was most likely a passer-by who saw Wang Wang practising and snapped him.

In some of the pictures, the boy can be seen walking along wires while blindfolded, with just a bamboo pole to help him balance.

Now, the youngster is gaining even more attention after a video of him swigging beer at a barbecue restaurant went viral.

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Wang Wang clearly enjoys a tipple, describing the alcoholic brew as “tasty”, while his father said he thought it was OK to drink a little beer with his son on hot summer days.

Not everyone is comfortable with Zhang’s relaxed approach to parenting, however. Some internet users expressed concern for the child’s health, while others feared he was being overexposed online.

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“You might not be able to give him the best education, but you shouldn’t harm him ,” a person wrote on Weibo.

“Is [the father] using the child as a tool to make money?” wrote another.

Zhang dismissed the criticism, however.

“I don’t think it’s bad if people pay attention to my child,” the report quoted him as saying.

He added that he wasn’t trying to make money from his son, but hoped the exposure might help him in his efforts to set up a foundation to support children in rural areas.