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A Chinese man who spent 10 years collecting trash for a living after dropping out of university has been reunited with his parents, according to a television report.

The once promising student, identified only by his surname Ye, gave up on his academic ambitions in the summer of 2008 after doing badly in his exams. Too ashamed to tell his parents what had happened, he instead told them he would be unable to return home for the summer holidays as there were no train tickets left.

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The now 30-year-old, who hails from southeastern China’s Fujian province, had been studying physics at Zhejiang University and made his life-changing decision at the end of his sophomore year. Just two years earlier he had scored top marks for his county in the science stream for the college entrance exam, the report by Fujian TV said.

After turning his back on his studies, Ye turned to collecting trash to make ends meet, and lived and worked near a railway station in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang. Although his parents made many trips to the city to look for their son, their paths never crossed.

In 2016, Ye relocated to Sanming in Fujian, the city that administers his hometown, but still he could not summon up the courage to speak to his parents, the report said.

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It was only after police received a tip-off from a member of the public and traced Ye to a park bench in the city that they were able to give his parents the news they had been waiting for for so long, that their son was alive and safe.

The reunion between parents and son was shown on the news report, with a long-haired Ye bowing his head as his weeping parents embraced him for the first time in a decade.



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