63 home letters, two brothers in their seventies, and an autistic child
这是《南方周末》所报道的一个关于中国自闭症家庭的故事，记者: 刘怡仙，实习生: 王思雨
The hero’s name is Qi Qiansheng, a Beijing local. He is the father of this autistic man.
Qi died more than ten years ago, leaving an autistic son who had already grown up and lived in a private nursing home in Beijing.
If someone hadn’t accidentally seen his 63 home letters to his elder brother living in Shanghai, people wouldn’t know what a miserable life the old man was living before he died. He took care of an autistic son alone for so many years.
Qi Qiansheng was born in 1937 and married a 24-year-old rural girl at the age of 51 in 1988. In the same year, they had a child.
He was a math teacher in a junior college, wearing thick lensed glasses. His school colleagues believe that Qi was very talented in math.
His wife died of illness when her son was 6, leaving him, a man in his fifties, to take care of their different son alone.
In his letter to his brother in Shanghai, he wrote:
My child is extremely disturbing… he would yell whenever he panicks… He does not care what others think of him in the street… Shouting repeatedly… is regarded by some people as crazy and stupid… As long as he is awake, he keeps moving.
Because of these, I have applied for a certificate of disability for him, which may be of use in the future… I’m not sure what kind of crisis I will have to face in the future. Once that moment comes, the child will never know what rescue is, and the tragedy will be self-evident.
I am trapped in a situation of a lonely old man with an autistic child…
My child is autistic, also known as autism, not depression. If it’s depression, that’s great, but it’s not! Autism is lifelong.
Brother, you don’t have an offspring. I have one, but he’s useless…
These words are in his home letters to his second elder brother.
Their neighbors said that this family did not cook. The father and son only bought steamed breads, never meat and vegetables in the food market… The father held his son’s hand tightly when they go out. About this, Qi explained to his brother:
Their things can’t be moved, they act like in.fear of their lives when they see their stuff get moved. If I move a bowl to another place, he will come and go, back and forth, move anxiously between the two places…
If Xiao Ming fiddle with switches and gas container like this, it would be very dangerous. So I can’t cook in the kitchen, I have to buy foods which are already cooked.
It’s useless for him to go to ordinary primary school, where teachers don’t bother to urge autistic children to learn.
In the past, when I was young, I couldn’t understand the simple truth that the elderly need care. Now I understand it, but I am surrounded by all kinds of difficulties and crises, and there is no way to get out of the situation.
My very beautiful and lovely child, whose fate is extremely painful… Sadly, he doesn’t know about this.
He went to school for two semesters last year… no use… He doesn’t know what school is and what exams are…didn’t even open his books in class, and no interact with other children. The teacher just left him aside and didn’t bother.
I get up at 5:30 every day, take him to his seat in the classroom at 7:45, and get him home at 11:00.
In September 2011, Nankou Town, Changping District, Beijing, where they lived, began to register every family for a general election. The staff knocked their door, no one answered, and they felt something must be wrong in this family. Later, the neighbor saw that Xiao Ming had been shouting in front of the window in the apartment for several days. They tried to open the door, only to find that the 74 year old teacher had died.
Qi Xiaoming, son of the old man, probably knew that his father was dying, or had been dead for a few days, or was just too hungry, and didn’t know how to go out for help, so he decided to shout in front of the window.
Since then, the orphan Xiao Ming has been living in the nursing home. His only relative was his uncle, who was also in his seventies and lived alone in Shanghai. It was impossible for the uncle to visit the autistic nephew. Ten years later, the old uncle in his eighties also died. His wife had already died and they had no children. The old man left the house in downtown Shanghai to the care workers who took care of him in.his will.
In order to find the possible heir to the old man’s estate, the local notary in Shanghai entrusted an arranger to sort out his belongings, and found the 63 home letters which piece together the miserable life of the family in Beijing.
The notary commissioned a volunteer in Beijing to visit Xiao Ming, now a middle-aged man who lives in the nursing home. Because he, as a certified disabled man, can receive allowance from the government every month, he can’t receive inheritance of his uncle.
In order to help Xiao Ming, the notary in Shanghai decided to display these letters in a cafe, so that the loneliness and suffering of autistic families can be seen, and improve Xiao Ming’s life in Beijing nursing home through public welfare fund-raising.
This 42 cafe in Xinzhuang, Shanghai can provide internships and employment for people with autism.
Here, there is an uncle’s desk. Under the glass, there is a reply letter that was suposed to be sent to his brother in Beijing, and a picture of Qi Xiaoming when he was a year old. He really looks “amazing beautiful” on the photo, just as his father Qi Qiansheng described in letter to brother.
The above story is from the content on the mobile app of Southern Weekend. I hope this kind of narration does not infringe. inMountains School translated this story into English and introduced it to all over the world. I hope more people will help this group in China.
I noticed that Xiao Ming, the father of autistic man, sounds like a person who doesn’t like social life. He decided to get married and have children at the age of 44 and found a wife at the age of 51, who was a much younger rural girl. They had a child. His own life seems to be affected by autism.
Xiao Ming’s uncle in Shanghai had no descendants. We don’t know whether or not he was a cheerful and confident person.
If I were a reporter from Southern Weekends, I would try to dig out information about Xiao Ming’s mother and uncle.