Meet 7-year-old Huang Doudou, a girl from Urumqi, Mongolia.
Doudou’s tragic life recently stirred up much controversy in Chinese media after her shocking story became viral.
At the tender age of just seven she has to perform three times a night, four nights a week as a restaurant dancer for 800 yuan (about $130) a month to help pay for her dancing tuition and support her disabled parents.
The family live in a small rented flat that is less than 12 square meters in size and is divided into two rooms. Her mother has a crippled left leg and tries to support the family by peddling in the streets and babysitting, while her father, who suffers from chronic gastritis, can only do light jobs.
During the day, Doudou looks like any normal 7-year-old 2nd grade girl at the Urumqi No.8 Primary School, happily attending school with red scarf.
But when night falls, little Doudou wears a provocative dance outfit and put on lots of makeup for her performance at a local hotpot restaurant.
Four times a week Doudou and her mother travel by bus to the restaurant where she dances, a journey that can take more than one hour.
She performs her Latin-style routines on a small stage in front of the restaurant’s customers three rounds per night. Between shows, Doudou and her mother rest on flower pots in the restaurant, waiting for the next round.
The young dancer usually ends her performance around 10 pm, changes outfits, puts on her school backpack and goes home, where she eats dinner and does her homework. She rarely goes to bed before 11 pm.
Asked what her biggest wish was, Doudou answered she always wanted to go to the cinema. Her mother had won a ticket in a text messaging contest, but by the time they managed to get to the cinema, their tickets had expired.
Brave Huang said: ‘It’s fun but I don’t finish until 11 o’clock at night and then I have to do my homework for school the next day.
‘I like dancing and sometimes I get tips which helps pay the bills. Sometimes I get tired but it is a very good job.’