Auditing 'Brother Tent' might be forced to leave Tsinghua

16:31, December 29, 2010      

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If an average netizen were asked to list the most popular figures on China's Internet in recent days, no doubt, "Brother Tent" would be among them.

Zhao Ming (pseudonym), an average post-1990s college student, moved many by sitting in on courses at Peking and Tsinghua Universities and spending nights in his little tent in a Tsinghua University's building. His story has spread quickly on the Internet where it has been elevated to legendary proportions, earning him the nickname "Brother Tent."

However, Zhao's story is likely to end much the same as Dai Haifei's, a young man who built an egg-style house in Beijing only to be ordered to remove it several days later after becoming famous.

Mr. Yu, the vice director of Tsinghua University's publicity department, said on Dec. 28 that although they admire Zhao's spirit of learning, they cannot encourage this type of behavior on campus. And a Tsinghua security guard revealed that they had been forbidden to allow Zhao to deposit his tent in their office.

Zhao Ming was a college student of a university in Shandong Province over a year ago. But, when he found out people around him were doing nothing meaningful day by day after a semester, he realized he had to pursue his dream of being educated in a famous university. He quit his school without hesitation and came to Beijing.

For a year, he sold fruits near Peking University and worked as a security guard at Tsinghua, and he would spend every minute of his spare time auditing courses in the top two universities of China. To save money, he usually only spent 9 RMB on his one meal each day. Of course, he saved the most by living in a tent because it would cost at least 500 yuan per month to rent the cheapest room near Tsinghua.

Every night, Zhao brings his tent to one of Tsinghua's buildings and pitches it in the passageway. With winter weather getting more severe, the temperature is only several above zero, but Zhao told reporters that "life should be full of challenges." Every morning, he sends his tent to the security duty room by the north gate of Tsinghua uses its bathroom to clean himself. Then he goes to Peking University for lessons. He said he usually uses cold water to take a bath, and that was helpful to his health.

On Dec. 28, he refused reporters' constant requests to cover his story.

He said: "Thank you all for your concerns, but I want it stop. I am just a kid who is pursuing his study. Nothing special. And I don't want to bring trouble to the two universities."

Beijing Morning Post contributed to the story

By Wang Hanlu, People's Daily Online
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