TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- After a photo of a boy whose hair became covered in frost became a viral online sensation in China, images of girls with frost-covered hair have been met with the cold shoulder by the communist country's propaganda machine.
On Jan. 8, an eight-year-old boy, Wang Fuman, arrived to his class in rural Yunan with frost covering his hair and even eyelashes due the frigid weather he encountered on his 2.8 mile trek to school. By Jan. 9, the image had started spreading all around the internet in China and had soon spread around the world.
The boy was hailed as a hero by the communist regime in Beijing, who brought him to the capital to make public propaganda appearances in police riot gear to show the powerful resolve of China's proletariat. There has been much controversy since the public has donated over 500,000 yuan (US$79,000) to help the child, but his family has actually only received a paltry 8,000 yuan (US$1,265).
Famous photo of "Frost Boy" Wang Fuman. (Weibo image)
Human rights activist Zhang Wan criticized Beijing's fixation on the boy as a distraction from the real problems in the area, "This place is so poor, the children going to school there suffer so many hardships, they must trek a long mountain roads, with no one to care for them. Therefore, promises of alleviating poverty in these areas are just empty words."
In stark contrast, as numerous images of poor school girls in other parts of China have started to surface on the Chinese internet, the state-run media outlets have failed to give them the same coverage. On Chinese social media, posts of such images of girls with frost on their hair are now reportedly being deleted by government censors.
Tianyou, a dissident writer in Shenzhen, wrote on a post on Wechat that this time, it's not a "Frost Boy" but "Frost Girls." The most terrible thing is that this is not just one child but many, these photos of "Frost Girls" greatly embarrass government officials, said Tianyou.
Tianyou then wrote, "They also know that if the images of the Frost Girls drew the same attention as the Frost Boy, it would arouse widespread public concern that though it is the world's second largest economy and every year there is so much aid given abroad, why are our own children living on the mountains walking to school on rugged roads and their bodies are covered in ice?"
His post was then taken down on Jan. 19 due to "Content Violations."
It appears the communist regime fears that too many images showing the stark discrepancy between rich and poor in China, the lack of infrastructure in remote areas, and drawing too much attention to the "left behind children" in rural areas may detract from the government's narrative of a "Socialist Harmonious Society."
(Compilation of Weibo images)