29-year-old Jiang Tao has been dwelling inside an internet café in prefectural city of Changde in China's Hunan province for the last seven months. During that time, Jiang pretty much ate and slept at the café leaving the soft glow of his computer monitor only to clean himself up.
While it may seem that Jiang is a bum, it turns out that he is in fact a very depressed, unemployed man. Graduating university in 2006, Jiang started working and was eventually promoted to regional manager for a tech company in Zhejiang. Jiang was making a moderate living in China, about 7000 RMB (1113 USD ) a month. Jiang's life suddenly came to a halt in 2010 when his company went bankrupt and laid him off. After exhausting much of his savings and resources, Jiang "moved" into an internet café in Changde.
Jiang's tale of living inside the café soon caught the attention of the local media, and a reporter from the local paper of Changde was sent out to the scene to see how Jiang was doing.
The reporter describes Jiang as a homely (or comely) young man with soft facial features, shoulder length hair that is starting to gray, a very pale complexion and limbs that look malnourished. Jiang's "station" appeared to be littered with cigarette boxes and empty water bottles. According to the Net Café staff Jiang leaves the net café for a few hours every two weeks to do laundry and use a bathhouse.
When asked what he does all day when he's at the café, Jiang says that he's pretty much constantly online dawdling, watching movies or playing online games. Jiang says that he's been having problems looking for work, and that it's not that he doesn't want to work, it's just that he doesn't know what he can actually start doing it. Jiang says he's unable to face his family and that he's lost faith in life.
As of right now, the net café seems to be the place for Jiang. He says once he's figured out his problems, he'll be ready to move on and leave.
The owner of the net café, Lei Yong, says that it's worrisome to see a young man spend his life doing nothing.
"We tried to persuade him, but he just doesn't take our advice," said Lei. "We're all worried about his situation, he's so young and he's already got so much white hair."
Jiang's situation isn't exactly new in China. Last week, it was reported that another young man had stayed in an internet café for over 2 months and was starting to stink up the place. Internet cafes operate 24/7 and are usually much cheaper than a hotel room. Some even offer "private" booths that are spacious enough for a grown adult to lay down in. They also serve junk food and beverages around the clock.