Chinese tourist spot bends rules to help struggling teen earn cash for college and ailing dad

Zhao has asked public to stop making donations so he can earn money by himself

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 July, 2018, 3:50pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 July, 2018, 5:47pm

An impoverished student in central China has taken to selling ice lollies at a tourist hotspot to earn money for his college tuition and his family’s medical expenses. The boy needs to sell 7,000 of the treats during his two-month summer break to make ends meet, the local media reported on Monday.

The student, surnamed Zhao, scored 520 points in this year’s college entrance exam, 21 points more than the minimum requirement to enrol in a university in Henan province, in central China, according to, a video website run by Zhejiang Radio and Television Group.

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Zhao’s father is too ill to work and needs 1,000 yuan (US$149) for medical expenses each month. There is also a younger brother who has just entered the third grade of primary school.

Zhao’s mother is the family’s sole breadwinner and so Zhao decided to earn money to ease the family’s financial burden. He wants to have enough for his college tuition and his father’s medical bills.

Zhao said he came to Yuxi Gorge Scenic Spot in Henan province, 2km from home, earlier this month seeking work, but was told he could not get a job as he was under 18.

It was the scenic spot’s deputy manager, Xie Kang, who suggested Zhao sell ice lollies in the tourist hotspot.

Xie Kang said the tourist attraction normally banned pedlars, but he decided to make an exception for Zhao “after learning of his plight”. He wanted to help Zhao become self-reliant.

The office of the scenic spot bought a cart and ice lolly storage box for Zhao.

Zhao said that because of previous media reports he had received 3,000 yuan in donations from the public. However, he appealed to people to stop giving him money.

“These donations put a lot of pressure on me. I hope to earn money by myself,” he said.

Zhao said he could sell more than 100 ice lollies each day and clear a profit of more than 100 yuan.