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Monday August 26, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Monday August 26, 2013 MYT 7:58:57 AM
by tho xin yi in beijing
Meagre possessions: The woman's belongings occupying a corner of the outlet.
THE homeless came into the limelight in Beijing this week, following news reports of a single mother calling a fast food restaurant her home.
Jiang Danli, 28, has been seeking shelter in a 24-hour KFC outlet near Hujialou subway station in Chaoyang district with her nine-month-old daughter.
Local media said Jiang originated from Daye in Hubei province.
She said she came to Beijing after her foster parents shunned her for having a child out of wedlock.
She worked as a street vendor during the day and retreated to the 24-hour outlet at night.
During a visit to the said outlet at 11pm on Saturday, Jiang and her baby was nowhere to be seen.
Her belongings, which included baby strollers and clothes, occupied a booth in a corner of the restaurant.
Customers enjoying their supper near the booth paid little attention to the heap.
A KFC employee said Jiang has been living there for two months.
The outlet’s spokesman was quoted in China Daily as saying that the restaurant would not chase Jiang away because “whoever comes to our store is our guest”.
After Jiang’s story was highlighted in the media, she was visited by good Samaritans who donated money, food, medicine and other daily necessities to her and her baby.
She had turned down an offer to move into a government-run shelter in Beijing.
Meanwhile, Beijing News reported that Jiang’s case was not an isolated one.
Across the city, 24-hour fast food outlets are an appealing option for the homeless because the eateries protect them from the harsh weather for free.
They usually stayed overnight in the restaurants and leave before dawn. Sometimes, they pick up leftover food from customers.
Travellers on a tight budget also make use of the 24-hour outlets as temporary shelter.
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