Chinese cave-dwelling hermit

The China Daily reports on a contemporary hermit who lives in a cave.

The caves that pock the mountains of Shanxi province’s Datong were inhabited for millennia until they were cleared out half a century ago – except for one person.

Zhang Dehua is Datong’s last cave dweller.

The 79-year-old was the only resident who didn’t move out of his grotto in Donggetuopu village when the government built a road and new houses for locals in 1952.

“I like my cave home,” Zhang says.

“It’s warm in winter and cool in summer. I don’t have a family. So, when everyone left, I stayed.”

Zhang Dehua, long a widower, was a farmer, whose family discovered the caves as a haven during the Japanese occupation of the 1930s. Zhang Dehua has few possessions, and is helped by a local taxi driver who discovered him and promotes free services to the area’s elderly. But the healthy Zhang Dehua, who now gets regular visitors and tourists dropping in to see his cave, remains content to stay where he is.