Gaming Addict Lives at Internet Cafe for Six Years

By McCarton Ackerman 03/27/13

China's "poster child" for web addiction leaves only occasionally to eat and bathe.

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Life's a game. Photo via

Gamer Li Meng has become the poster child for internet addiction in China after The Beijing Times reported he has lived at an internet cafe for the last six years, leaving only occasionally to eat and bathe. "He generally comes at night to play the game, gets sleepy during the day and sleeps here," said one patron at the cafe in China's Northeast city of Changchun, "From time to time will be out to take a bath." Meng, described as a “bespectacled youth [who] clearly hadn't been to a hairdresser for a long time,” initially refused to acknowledge the reporter's presence. After eventually agreeing to be interviewed, “his gaze was locked to the computer screen" the entire time, reports the paper. Meng revealed that he supports himself through his gaming, making about $322 a month, of which $80 is paid as a monthly fee to the cafe. According to the cafe owner, he causes no trouble and they barely even notice his presence. Concerns about Internet and gaming addiction have gained increasing attention in China; the country recently launched an initiative to curb the problem through early diagnosis and intervention, after an incident in which a young gamer tried to poison his parents when his games were taken away. The country has also set up numerous "camps" throughout the country intended to rehabilitate tech addicts.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.