Sympathy flows for mother in KFC store

Updated: 2013-08-24 10:57

By Jin Haixing (China Daily)

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Customers say they are not bothered by longtime guests

People in Beijing are donating to a young woman who has stayed in a KFC store in the city for nearly two months with her baby girl.

Sympathy flows for mother in KFC store

Jiang Danli and her 9-month-old daughter have been staying in a 24-hour KFC store in Beijing's Chaoyang district for nearly two months. Xu Xiaofan / For China Daily

Jiang Danli, 28, from Daye in Hubei province, has stayed in the 24-hour store in Hujialou area, Chaoyang district, since early July with her 9-month-old daughter.

Jian left her hometown for Beijing after quarreling with her parents in early July, according to a statement sent to China Daily by the Baoan township government in Daye.

It said the family conflict was ignited after the unmarried Jiang gave birth, something her parents viewed as unacceptable according to local customs.

Jiang petitioned the local government several times, requesting compensation from her former boyfriend and his family. They have refused to provide any financial support, according to media reports.

By Thursday night, Jiang had received 7,000 yuan ($1,143) in donations from an association of people with origins in Daye as well as other residents of Beijing.

However, Jiang refused an offer of help by the Daye government and declined to move to a shelter for the homeless run by the civil affairs department in Beijing.

Jiang said she was once sent to live in such a shelter in Daye but the experience was terrible, without elaborating further.

Jiang said she wanted to continue to stay in the KFC store and it will take time for her to gain the understanding of her parents, who adopted her when she was young.

At her table in the KFC store, Jiang has a store of food and daily necessities for herself and her baby. Under the table are two baby carriages.

Zhang Haobo, a spokesman for the KFC store, said they have allowed the mother and baby to stay because "whoever comes to our store is our guest".

"We hope Jiang and her daughter will live a normal life soon," he said.

Jiang's case is not unique and many others who have no place to live in the city have chosen to stay in 24-hour fast food stores.

A man, who only gave his surname as Suo, reported Jiang's case to a newspaper in Beijing, saying he has stayed in the same KFC store since last week after he was cheated by a job agency. He said he will continue to stay there.

An NGO named Qicaijun has promised to provide basic services for Jiang and help her find a job.

According to Suo, the employees are kind to him and sometimes provide him with hot water.

Suo said five to six people sometimes sleep in the store at night, including migrant workers and tourists.

Customers interviewed by China Daily said the longtime guests do not bother them.

"Usually I finish my lunch in the store in less than 15 minutes and I didn't notice the young mother and her baby. The store has shown its humane side by allowing them to stay," Mao Yun, 28, a white-collar worker, said on Friday.

A man surnamed Chen, 34, who came to KFC on Friday afternoon to meet friends, said: "I think it's alright that some people sleep in the store at night. But they have to make sure they are safe from theft."

Zhang Youqin, a professor of social work at Xiamen University, said some people stay in 24-hour stores overnight after they experience domestic violence or legal problems.

"They should seek help from government departments and NGOs," Zhang said.

Yan Ran contributed to this story.