Why Are Villagers Calling This 8-Year-Old Boy a ‘Ticking Time Bomb’?

    Kunkun was at the meeting when villagers signed the petition, but didn't understand what the adults were doing. (Image: People's Daily)A villager signs the letter as Kunkun quietly watches. (Image: People's Daily)In the town, almost everyone knows Kunkun has HIV, and keep away from him. (Image: People's Daily)

    Over 200 people recently signed a letter requesting local authorities take a young boy called Kunkun away from his village in Sichuan Province.

    When Kunkun was hospitalized for a head wound in 2011, doctors discovered he had HIV, and had contracted it from his mother. Kunkun’s parents left town for work when he was only 1 month old, and he was raised by his grandfather. They lived on social security.

    The news spread like wildfire, and no one would talk to or play with him, according to Sina News. Wherever he went, people kept a distance.

    Kunkun didn’t understand why no one wanted to be around him. He stopped going to school, and wandered in the mountains, running across fields, climbing trees to pick oranges, or trying to catch pheasants.

    But in the locals’ eyes, “he is a wild child.” They spread malicious gossip about him, like: “He almost burned my house once,” or “He stole money from my niece.” One person said: “What if he bites my child?”

    On Dec. 7, dozens of villagers attended a special meeting at the village chief’s home to discuss how to get Kunkun to leave town. He went in, thinking it was a party. The chief said loudly: “Put your fingerprint here to sign if you agree to isolate Kunkun from the village.”

    When his grandfather signed the paper, Kunkun moved closer to see what was on it. Eventually, 203 people signed.

    The chief said:

    We feel sorry for him. After all, he’s only a child. I hope there’s a special agency that can take care of him.

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