‘Pretty’ beggar sparks debate over evolving ‘industry’

The traditional image of a beggar is usually someone down on their luck—probably dressed in rags, their face smudged with dirt, sitting on the street, holding a bowl, often with a pathetic message to stir hearts to pity.

But in recent years, the “begging industry” has evolved. Today, it’s no surprise to see a beggar with a QR (quick response) code, asking motorists and passersby to scan and donate. Many question why a person owning a cellphone needs to beg, but the practice has become increasingly common.

Now one beggar in Lijiang, Yunan province, has decided to save people the trouble of guessing, by explaining exactly why she was on the streets—she was too hot to work.

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author Sun Jiahui (孙佳慧)

Sun Jiahui is a freelance writer and former editor at The World of Chinese. She writes about Chinese language, society and culture, and is especially passionate about sharing stories of China's ancient past with a wider audience. She has been writing for TWOC for over six years, and pens the Choice Chengyu column.

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