China’s growing problem with internet and video game addiction is probably best described by the case of Li Meng, a young man who has virtually been living in an Internet cafe for the last six years, leaving only to buy food and take the occasional shower.
According to Chinese media, Li Meng graduated from university six years ago, but unlike most of his peers, who went on to look for jobs, make a name for themselves and start a family, he opted for a life in the fantasy world of online gaming. Ever since he finished school, Li has spent most of his time in one of the many internet cafes in China’s Northeast city of Changchun. The owner of the place says he’s been there for such a long time that he’s basically part of the furniture, and doesn’t even notice his presence anymore. He spends every day and night tucked away in a corner, with an open bag of food by his side, staring at the monitor and mashing the keyboard and mouse buttons, leaving for brief periods of time to catch a bite to eat and take a bath. Reporters who visited the young Chinese gamer at his “workplace” described him as a pale “bespectacled youth that clearly hadn’t been to a hairdresser for a long time”.