Pictures of a young pupil arriving at school with frozen hair and swollen hands renewed discussion of child poverty in China when they were posted by his teacher in January 2018.
Dubbed “Ice Boy” by social media users, Wang, then eight years old, walked 4.5 km (2.8 miles) to get to school in southwest China’s Yunnan province – often in freezing temperatures.
His determination to get to school in such difficult conditions, and excellent performance in class, prompted a wave of sympathy and support online. bandar domino qiu qiu
Now nine, a lot has changed for Wang in the last 12 months – and he no longer has to trek miles to school in the snow, according to the People’s Daily.
Wang and his family have moved out of the mud hut they shared into a two-storey home just 10 minutes’ walk along a paved road from his school.
“Life is much better,” the boy’s father, Wang Gangkui told the publication.
“Compared with the mud walls and muddy road, we are much better sheltered from the wind and rain.”
‘Seeds of dreams’
Wang’s school has benefitted from increased investment.
Heating facilities have reportedly been installed in classrooms, while a dormitory has been built to house children who live far from the school.
“[Wang] is a top student and gets along well with his classmates,” deputy principal Fu Heng is quoted as saying.
“All the attention has made the pupils feel the wonder of the world and their ideas have changed a great deal. The seeds of dreams that one day they will be able to walk away from the mountains have been planted, and they are very hopeful for the future.”
Wang’s dream, however, remains the same.
As it was in 2018, he hopes in the future to become a police officer, so he can “catch the bad guys”.
“The power of the web really should not be underestimated,” one says, noting how it was online outcry that led to his change in conditions.
“The changes to Wang… and his family are gratifying,” wrote another social media user, Chen Li, on Weibo. “This is the credit of public opinion, and the joint effort of the local government and innumerable caring people.”
“The use of good governance will melt more ‘ice children’ and bring more power to poor children,” said another.
In his new year address, President Xi Jinping said the alleviation of rural poverty had been a focus of the past year.
He said: “125 poor counties and 10 million poverty-stricken rural residents were lifted out of poverty.
“To achieve our task of lifting another 10 million-plus rural residents out of poverty as planned, we shall remain focused and work hard on this.”
However, some social media users emphasised there was more still to be done in holding officials accountable if similar situations happened in regions for which they are responsible.
“If you catch corrupt officials, you can help the poor,” one user said.