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Kunming man found at home five years after dying

By in News on

A local worker made a gruesome discovery yesterday when he found the remains of an elderly man who had died in his home more than five years ago, according to a Dushi Shibao report.

It appears that the man – surnamed Zhang – is likely to have died alone in his bed in late 2004 or early 2005, his body decomposing and remaining undiscovered for nearly six years.

According to his neighbors, Zhang lived alone and was not very sociable. His remains were only discovered as the result of a recent city ordinance regarding metal anti-burglar cages (防盗笼) on buildings.

The government ordered all cages that are not flush with the window frame and that face onto public streets to be removed by the end of 2010.

With the year's end drawing near, all of the other cages in Zhang's apartment complex on Dongfeng Xiang in the city center had been removed, except for those on his third-story apartment.

After property managers spent several weeks knocking on his door with no response, they decided yesterday to send someone to scale the outside wall of the apartment and investigate. A worker surnamed Lu climbed to the bedroom window.

"My boss wanted me to check and see if there was anyone in the bed," said Lu. "I pushed the window open and that's when I saw the skeleton lying on the bed wrapped in a blanket."

Neighbors recall a septuagenarian man who had lived in the apartment for as long they could remember. Neigbors said he had mentioned having a wife and son who he said lived in Guizhou, but that he'd fallen out of contact with them.

A neighbor surnamed Tang said he'd never seen Zhang's wife or son and that Zhang had always been alone. Mr Tang recalled the last time he had seen Zhang one winter several years ago. Tang said he saw Zhang sitting in the sun to warm himself up and that he appeared very weak and white in the face.

Tang told Dushi Shibao that he'd told local police that he hadn't seen Zhang for a long time and feared that something had happened to him, but every time the police went to his home they were unable to get anyone to open the door.

Zhang's home had two doors, the outer one having already been knocked open. On the inner door there was a notification of the upcoming census, plus yellowing electric bills, the earliest one dating back to January 2005.

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How incredibly sad to die alone like that - and be undiscovered for so many years. Truly a tragedy, how could no one have checked on him, knocked on the door, etc. for so many years?

This brings to mind what I've just read about Michelle Obama when she gave a talk to high school students in UK. Asked what had initially attracted her to Obama she told them the following:

"I knew he was a special person. And it had nothing to do with his education. It had nothing to do with his potential. And I say this to young women: Don't check off—there are a lot of women who have the boxes. Did he go to the right school? What is his income?"It was none of that. It was how he felt about his mother; the love that he felt for his mother; his relationship to women; his work ethic ... he wasn't impressed with himself. And he was funny. And we joked a lot. And he loved his little sister ... he was a COMMUNITY ORGANIZER. I really respected that. '

It's a precious lesson for everyone of us to develop a sense of COMMUNITY in a world where the concept is totally lost and how sad we all are for it!

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