Mon, January 24, 2011
Lifestyle > Society

Disrobed, famed and stranded

2011-01-23 23:47:18 GMT2011-01-24 07:47:18(Beijing Time)  China Daily

Chen Weiwei, dressed in his underwear, challenges a railway station official after he failed to get a train ticket home. [LI JIANLIN / FOR CHINA DAILY]

SHANGHAI - A man who took his clothes off at a local railway station office in East China to express his anger at being unable to buy a ticket home remained stranded and anxious for help on Sunday.

Chen Weiwei, a migrant worker from Central China's Henan province, earned national attention and sympathy when a set of pictures depicting Chen, clad only in his underwear, and confronting an officer, circulated widely online.

He had lined up for 14 hours at the west Jinhua railway station in East China's Zhejiang province on Jan 17 and 18 only to find the tickets he wanted to buy were all sold out.

A report by a Shanghai newspaper said on Friday that Chen had received five tickets with assistance from staff members at Jinhua railway station.

But Chen Wanjun, spokesman with the Shanghai Railway Bureau, said on Sunday that the report was not true.

He said the tickets were sold out, and that there was no possibility to help him, though railway authorities went all out to help passengers home during the travel peak.

Less than 100 direct train tickets from Jinhua, Chen's workplace, to his hometown are available every day, according to the website of Shanghai Railway Bureau.

Chen said he would consider other options of going back, such as taking a long-distance bus.

For his part, Chen also said he was embarrassed to see the pictures, which had been taken by local reporters and then uploaded and circulated online.

Chen, anxious to return home with his pregnant wife, spent a night in the railway station to be in the front of a long line of people aiming to buy train tickets.

Although he was the third in the long queue, he was still unable to get a ticket, nor were the two co-workers coming along with Chen.

People jumping queues and the crash of a computer at the ticket box also frustrated him.

In a fury, Chen took off his clothes and ran through the railway station and finally into the office of the on-duty director of west Jinhua railway station, demanding an explanation.

While some showed sympathy and encouraged him to challenge railway authorities, others said it was normal that tickets are in short supply around Spring Festival and those unable to get tickets should not go to such extremes.

"If Chen could get ticket by going naked, I will seriously consider doing the same thing next year," said Gui Yi, a 24-year-old migrant worker in Shanghai.

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