Woman lived underground for 20 years

CHINA - Every day for the past 20 years, Quan Youzhi, 66, has lifted a well lid weighing at least 10 kilograms and climbed down 3 meters to spend the night underground.

The woman from Shangqiu, Henan province, does not work on underground facilities. Instead, she calls the deserted underground compartment home.

The compartment is near Lido Park in Beijing's Chaoyang district.

It measures 3 meters by 3 meters and is about 2 meters high. It is filled with rusty pipes that crowd the already small space.

Inside are simple furnishings: a few quilts on a thin mat, some candles, two coats and a broken umbrella.

A washroom in Lido Park offers Quan a place to wash herself and to use the toilet.

"Twenty years," Quan answered when asked the obvious question. "I don't have money".

The space is a good place to live in winter, she said because it's warm.

In the summer, however, she stays aboveground because it gets too hot. During heavy rain, Quan moves to a nearby pavilion because her home will be flooded.

Quan said chengguan, urban patrol officers, frequently block off access to her home by welding the lid shut.

"I bought a metal saw and sawed the weld off after they went away," she said.

"I don't want to go back home," Quan said. She has two sons, one in his 40s and single, the other married with two children and in his 30s.

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