Adoption notice: 80-year-old man doesn't want to die alone
LAST year, on a cold December day, Han Zicheng decided to write a note. "Lonely old man in his 80s. Strong-bodied. Can shop, cook and take care of himself. No chronic illness. I retired from a scientific research institute in Tianjin, with a monthly pension of 6,000 RMB ($A1200) a month," is what he wrote, according to the New York Post.
"I won't go to a nursing home. My hope is that a kind-hearted person or family will adopt me, nourish me through old age and bury my body when I'm dead."
Han, 85, a widower whose sons were estranged, had been telling neighbours for years that he was lonely and afraid of dying alone.
Traditionally, elderly Chinese people have been cared for by their kids and grandchildren, but thanks to the country's one-child policy and the changing attitudes of younger people, tens of millions of oldsters like Han are now struggling without support, according to the paper.
But his flyer - titled "Looking for someone to adopt me" - went viral, and soon his phone was ringing off the hook.
He made some friends but failed to find the loving family he was looking for, and began growing angry with those who called - ranting about the government and the shoddy food at the local old folk's home, the Washington Post reports.
Han died in March without finding anyone to adopt him, but was able to call one of his new acquaintances before he died and was taken to the hospital - allaying his fear that he would die alone.
One of his sons, who lives in Canada, denied to the paper that his father had been lonely and insisted his kids had taken good care of him - but wouldn't provide any details to corroborate that.
This article was originally published in the New York Post and is republished with permission.