In mid-November 2012 Chinese media reported that five homeless boys in the city of Bijie in China’s southwestern Guizhou province were found dead in a dumpster after apparently sheltering there to keep warm. News stories on November 18 suggested the boys had died of gas poisoning after setting a coal fire inside the dumpster. In this cartoon, posted by artist Xiao Huxiong (小尸凶) to Sina Weibo on November 18, the famous Chinese comic character “Sanmao” (三毛), created by Zhang Leping (张乐平) in 1935, climbs into a dumpster with other children to avoid the cold. One of Huang Leping’s goal in creating the original Sanmao was to draw attention to the plight of homeless children in China.
The post accompanying Xiao Huxiong’s cartoon reads: “When I read about five homeless children dying in a dumpster, I thought of Master Zhang Leping’s Adventures of Sanmao. So it turns out that even in the age of splendor there are countless Sanmaos that require care.”