I feel as though I’m in prison

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - China - First per­son: Chen Yun­sheng, a 77-year-old re­tiree from Gansu prov­ince who lives with his daugh­ter’s fam­ily in Bei­jing. Chen Yun­sheng spoke with Wang Keju.

Ihave been in Bei­jing for six years, since my wife died in 2011. I was not in good con­di­tion, and my daugh­ter was wor­ried about me liv­ing alone, so she picked me up from Jin­chang, Gansu prov­ince, soon af­ter my wife’s fu­neral.

My daugh­ter and her hus­band take good care of me. They even pay for some­one to cook my lunch and sup­per. How­ever, they are usu­ally oc­cu­pied with work so I of­ten eat by my­self.

With no­body at home, the house is aw­fully silent. Turn­ing on the TV seems the only way to make this empty house come alive. When I go down­stairs to my com­mu­nity and look around, I see no one I’m fa­mil­iar with. To be hon­est, I feel as though I’m in prison.

Two years ago, I was tak­ing a walk around my neigh­bor­hood af­ter break­fast and ran into a young man hand­ing out fly­ers about health­care prod­ucts. He told me I would re­ceive a kilo of eggs if I took part in a health lec­ture.

With noth­ing to do, I went along. Af­ter speak­ing with an ex­pert and a doc­tor, I ended up tak­ing home health­care prod­ucts worth 2,000 yuan ($300). They said the items would be good for my health.

Af­ter that, the sales­man vis­ited me from time to time, bring­ing fruits. He chat­ted with me and gave me mas­sages. I re­ally en­joyed hav­ing him around. It’s hard to find some­one will­ing to lis­ten to my chat­ter.

One time, I woke up with a dull headache af­ter tak­ing a post-lunch nap. I didn’t want to bother my daugh­ter, and the sales­man was the only other per­son I could think of at the time. When I called him, he came im­me­di­ately and took me to the hospi­tal.

Af­ter that, I reg­u­larly bought health­care prod­ucts from him. He would ar­range gifts for me, such as an electric blan­ket and an au­to­matic foot spa, ev­ery time. He spent more time with me than my daugh­ter did.

Then my daugh­ter found out about the health­care prod­ucts and or­dered me not to buy them any­more. She told me the prod­ucts would do no good for my health and it was a scam to gain money from se­nior peo­ple. She showed me me­dia re­ports about sim­i­lar cases. Since that time, I have not bought any health­care prod­ucts, but some­times I think about the sales­man.

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