China’s youngest courier, 7, given place in children’s home

Abandoned by his mother in 2013, Li Changjiang was cared for by a kindly delivery man who also made him his apprentice

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 January, 2018, 7:23pm
UPDATED : Monday, 16 April, 2018, 1:40pm

A seven-year-old boy from eastern China has been taken into care after he was found to be working as a part-time courier instead of going to school.

Li Changjiang, from Qingdao in Shandong province, came to the public’s attention after a schoolteacher to whom he delivered a package took his photograph and uploaded it to the internet last week, the Shanghai-based Morning News reported on Monday.

The teacher was identified as Wang Qingwei, but the report did not explain why he took the child’s photograph or shared it on social media.

According to the report, Li’s mother, who was not named, abandoned the boy in 2013 after his father, Li Lianlong, fell ill.

She left the child with a man called Yan Shifang, one of her sick husband’s former workmates, who subsequently relocated to another area of Qingdao and took the child with him, the report said.

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Yan was quoted as saying that he lost contact with the mother and “suspected” Li Lianlong had died.

Divorced, with a son of his own, Yan said he worked as a delivery man and would take the child with him on his daily rounds. The report did not say when the youngster began helping with actual deliveries, but said he soon became a familiar face in his local neighbourhood.

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Although China provides nine years’ compulsory education, Li is not a native of Qingdao – he was born in Pingxiang, Jiangxi province – and therefore does not have the official papers needed to enrol at school.

A report by Thepaper.cn said that local government officials had managed to trace Li’s mother and were in talks with her about the boy’s future. It too was unable to name her, but said she had remarried.