Chinese TikToker shocked by scale of homelessness in US

Chinese TikToker shocked by scale of homelessness in US
TikTok / @lialiu_chinese

A Chinese TikToker has shared her shock at the number of rough sleepers in her new city of Portland, Oregon.

She said she moved to America two years ago, and since then she has been struck by how stark the issue of homelessness is.

She shared how when she and her husband, Charlie were walking down the street, her “brain exploded” when Charlie told her that the people in the tents along the street were not camping.

She said: “When I was in China, I saw videos like this all the time. Some Americans rescue stray cats, stray dogs, they say ‘I’ll give you a home’. What about stray people? Do you want to give them a home?”

All of her American friends advised her to avoid making eye contact with homeless people, saying if they talk to her she should just walk away.

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“It doesn’t sound right,” she said. “I don’t understand that you really just don’t care, that no one will do anything.”

If you see a homeless person in China, she said you are encouraged to call the police directly. Cops will then give the person a ticket to their hometown where they can access a local shelter.

“Normally on Chinese streets you don’t see homeless people,” she said.

She also thought it was absurd how in order to get a job in the US, you need an address. In China, you just need an ID, she said.


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The top comment with over 59,000 likes reads: “In America, they don’t fix homelessness because they want it to be a threatening example of what could happen to you if you don’t work.”

A former social worker also left a comment, explaining that mental health and addiction issues are not the only reasons some people may avoid shelters. She wrote: “Some [shelters] are dehumanising or not safe to be in.”

Another TikToker also commented on the video, writing: “I was homeless for six months. We didn’t go to the shelters because they were either too unsafe or we had to participate in religious practices to stay.”

Turning the tables, one commenter wrote: “As an American who moved to China last year one of the biggest culture shocks was not seeing homeless people living on the streets.”

Another summed it up using a reference to The Good Place, writing: “Yeah… we’re the bad place”.

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