Does this man look like a beggar to you?
This is a picture of a homeless guy who has been roaming the streets of Ningbo, Zhejiang province in China.
With his tattered clothes, lost gaze and dirty locks, he is now one of the most searched-for figures on the Internet, reported Mingpao.com
Since the first picture of him was first posted by a Ningbo resident on the internet Jan. 30, 2010, he has since gained a following and was elevated to a celebrity status. His photo even showed on the UK newspaper "The Independent", in which he was described as “a starkly handsome Chinese man walking with a model's measured gait, and wearing a rag-tag but well co-ordinated overcoat on top of a leather jacket. His eyes peer into the middle distance, in what one fan described as 'a deep and penetrating way', and he strides confidently forward."
Adoring netizens have gushed over his look and even compared the way he dressed to the bohemian styles modeled by fashion icons and celebrities.
His lanky frame was said to rival the models, while that unfocused gaze had been described as "deep and penetrating".
On top of that, there are those who gushed that he resembles Asian heartthrobs such as Zhang Zhen, Takeshi Kaneshiro and even Oscar-nominated Japanese actor Ken Watanabe.
Dubbed Xi Li Ge (or Brother Sharp) by the netizens, the homeless man first gained popularity when his picture was uploaded to the Internet, by someone who accidentally photographed him while trying out a camera in a shop.
Those who have met him said he stands at 1.73m, aged around 36 years old and is always spotted with a cigarette in his mouth or between his fingers.
Apart from being the latest icon on the internet, he acts no differently from any other homeless guy - one that seems to be suffering from mental disorder, that is.
Curious netizens from other areas have poured in to Ningbo trying to catch a sight of him.
And thanks to local media's coverage, the story about Xi Li Ge has even spread to as far as Japan.
The Ningpo government was soon alerted about the situation. Its spokesperson said the local government is concerned about Xi Li Ge.
"It's the local government's responsibility for everyone to experience the kindness of the people in this city," he said, adding that Ningbo is famed for its reputation as a city with passionate inhabitants.
"We will continue to care for the homeless guys. This is an essential part of the development of a civilised city," concluded the spokesperson.
Xi Li Ge’s identity remains a mystery until 5th March, when Cheng Guosheng, a migrant worker in Taizhou, went with his mother to the Ningbo Psychiatric Hospital to meet Xi Li Ge and there he recognized that Xi Li Ge was his long-lost older brother.
Xi Li Ge, whose real name is Cheng Guorong, was born on Oct. 10, 1976 and hails from Boyang County, Shangrao City of Jiangxi Province, according to his brother, who said they had lost contact with him after he left home for work 11 years ago.
At the Ningbo Psychiatric Hospital, the attending physician said Xi Li Ge has a certain physical capacity but was in a poor spirit. After being persuaded by the shelter staff, Xi Li Ge wrote down his and his father’s name on a piece of paper: Cheng Guorong, my father’s name, Cheng Guangnan.
“Now I can confirm that he is my brother who has been separated from us for more than 10 years! Maybe home is the best healing place for him after 11-year-long wandering life.” said Cheng Guosheng in a choking voice and insisted to bring his brother home, while his mother also shed tears.
Around 3:00p.m., Cheng Guorong left the hospital with his brother and mother.