By HAO FENQING
BEIJING (China Daily Show) – Gracious Chinese givers were shocked and appalled yesterday when a passerby exposed Lao Pei, one of Beijing’s longest-surviving beggars, as a fraud and a charlatan.
Li Yuanyuan, 21, an erhu major from China’s Central Conservatory of Music, was transversing the under-pass with friends from Guomao to Jianwai Soho when she heard the sweet strains of the beloved traditional instrument and was nearly moved to tears.
“But when we arrived to see his playing,” said Li, “I had become angry by his useless posture and offensive declamating.”
According to witnesses, Li pressed the man for the name of his teacher and, after determining that he had received no classical training whatsoever, slapped him in the face, overturned his money table, and dashed his instrument to pieces.
An angry crowd dragged the beggar up to the street for a classical beating, with several people demanding their money back.
“I had often given him several maos freely,” said Jia Yisong, English teaching assistant at Dell English school. “But when I realized his deceptive, I had felt cheated by him.”
A nearby police officer responding to the shouts and murmurs was unable to restore order. “I had hoped to satisfy the crowd’s bloodlust by asking the man for his public performance certificate from the Ministry of Culture,” said the officer. “After he failed to respond, the crowd took this as a sign of his guilty.”
Lao Pei, 93, who is blind and deaf, and suffers from cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and prostate cancer, utterly refused to comment.
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