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BEIJING — The “Vagrant Master” has been offline for more than a week.

北京——這位“流浪大師”已經下線一個多星期了。

The last time people saw him, the scrawny 52-year-old known

人們最后一次見到他的時候,這個骨瘦如柴的52歲男子已經小有名氣

as Shen Wei was being escorted into a white Mercedes-Benz by a -middle-aged man in an orange jacket.

當沈巍被一個穿著橙色夾克的中年男子護送進一輛白色奔馳車時。

When asked where he was going, Shen replied, “To seek refuge.”

當被問到要去哪里時,沈說:“去避難。”

But even before he could get into the car, a man in his 20s ran up to ask for an autograph. Shen turned to sign the fan’s notebook.

但就在他上車之前,一個20多歲的男人跑過來要簽名。沈轉身在這位粉絲的筆記本上簽了名。



This unlikely viral star was discovered by social media when clips of him quoting Aristotle, Confucius and Dante began to surface on Douyin, a short-video platform. To the surprise of many, this homeless man — with uncombed hair, soiled clothes and unwashed beard — turned out to be well versed in literature and philosophy.

當他引用亞里士多德、孔子和但丁的片段開始出現在短視頻平臺抖音上時,這位不太可能走紅的明星被社交媒體發現。令許多人吃驚的是,這個無家可歸的人——頭發沒梳,衣服沒洗,胡子沒剃——竟然精通文學和哲學。

Viewers were intrigued.

觀眾感到好奇。

“Extraordinary hair worthy of a Taoist priest, eyes brimming with radiating vigor, and the deportment of a real gentleman,” read a top comment on Douyin. “This is what a true master should look like!”

抖音里的一條評論這樣寫道:“一頭道家道士般的秀發,一雙炯炯有神的眼睛,一副紳士的派頭。這才是真正的大師應該有的樣子!”

Shen quickly became an antihero for those tired of trying to climb social and economic ladders in a country obsessed with youth, novelty, education, fame, wealth and good looks.

對于那些厭倦了在這個癡迷于青春、新奇、教育、名望、財富和美貌的國家里攀登社會和經濟階梯的人來說,沈很快就成了反英雄。

But Shen’s virtual fame became all too real in mid-March.

但在3月中旬,沈的虛擬名聲變得太真實了。



Short videos are huge in the world’s second-largest economy. China has nearly 830 million -Internet users, and more than 70 percent of them now use short-video or live-streaming applications, according to the state-run China Internet Network Information Center. By 2020, the short-video sector is expected to exceed $5 billion in market value.

在中國這個世界第二大經濟體,短視頻的體量是巨大的。據官方的中國互聯網信息中心統計,中國有近8.3億互聯網用戶,其中超過70%的人現在使用短視頻或實時流媒體應用程序。到2020年,短視頻行業的市場價值有望超過50億美元。

To attract more traffic, established media apps such as TikTok, Kuaishou and Vigo Video seek out pop stars, artists and big names from other social media sites.

為了吸引更多的流量,抖音、快手和火山小視頻等老牌媒體應用會從其他社交媒體網站上尋找流行明星、藝術家和大牌明星。

Starting on March 17, the name “Shen Wei” topped searches on the Chinese search engine Baidu, and Weibo posts related to #Vagrant-Master were read by tens of millions.

從3月17日開始,“沈巍”這個名字在中國搜索引擎百度上的搜索量就超過了“流浪大師”,與“流浪大師”相關的微博帖子被閱讀了數千萬次。

Every morning when the vagabond opened his door, he would find dozens, or even hundreds, of people already waiting at the doorstep of his temporary shelter — a deserted office storeroom. Each time he opened his mouth, dozens of phones and cameras were ready to record. As soon as he finished a memorable quote, people would respond with thunderous applause and cheers.

每天早晨,當這個流浪漢打開他的門時,他會發現幾十人,甚至幾百人,已經在他的臨時避難所——一個廢棄的辦公室儲藏室門口等著他。每次他一張嘴,就會有幾十部手機和相機隨時準備記錄下來。他一說完一句令人難忘的話,人們就會報以雷鳴般的掌聲和歡呼聲。

Shen quickly came to think he was being exploited.

沈巍很快意識到自己被利用了。

“I know people are treating me like a monkey,” Shen said in a 25-second video on March 19, more to himself than to a full room of smartphone-wielding spectators. “Nobody came to see me with a pure heart. You did this for money.”

3月19日,沈在一段25秒的視頻中說,與其說是對一屋子拿著智能手機的觀眾說,不如說是對他自己說:“我知道人們把我當猴子看待。沒有人帶著一顆純潔的心來看我。他們這樣做是為了錢。”

People who hung around Shen sought various rewards: A woman in a leather jacket who claimed to be Shen’s girlfriend attracted 400,000 followers within four days after setting up a TikTok account. A jobless young man in a red coat, purporting to be Shen’s child, became a regular guest on popular live-streaming channels. A 10-word piece of calligraphy Shen wrote on a piece of scrap paper was reported to have sold for more than $13,000 at an online auction.

圍著沈巍身邊轉的那幫人這千方百計從沈巍身上獲利:一位自稱是沈巍女友的皮夾克女士在開通抖音賬號后的四天內就吸引了40萬粉絲。一個身穿紅色外套的失業青年,自稱是沈的孩子,成為熱門直播頻道的常客。據報道,沈在一張廢紙上寫的10個字的書法作品在網絡拍賣會上以1.3萬多美元的價格售出。



After that, he was hospitalized twice. In 1995, he decided to live as a full-time garbage man, local newspapers reported.

之后,他兩次住院。據當地報紙報道,1995年,他決定做一名全職清潔工。

“I was destined to be a trash collector,” Shen told the Red Star News. “I admire Gandhi and want to live an ascetic life like him.”

沈在接受《紅星新聞》采訪時表示:“我命中注定要成為一名垃圾收集者。我欽佩甘地,想要像他一樣過一種苦行僧式的生活。”

By March 19, Shen’s cult -following on social media had a cult following on social media.

到3月19日,沈在社交媒體上的粉絲已經有了一群粉絲。

A widely shared photo on Weibo shows smartphone-wielding young people surrounding him, drawing comparisons to -Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

微博上一張廣為流傳的照片顯示,一群年輕人拿著智能手機圍在他身邊,儼然是聽耶穌在山上的布道。

Citing safety hazards and the disturbance to neighbors, police cordoned off the area around Shen’s squatting space and set up meter-high wood fences. But his fans remained undeterred, with some gathering before 7 a.m.

警方以安全隱患和擾民為由,封鎖了沈巍蹲坐地周圍的區域,并設置了一米高的木柵欄。但他的粉絲們沒有被嚇倒,有些人在早上7點之前就聚集了起來。

Shen took extreme measures.

沈采取了極端措施。

He showered and got his hair cut. Of course, videos of him with a trimmed mustache, combed shoulder-length hair and a brand-new black blazer appeared on multiple live-streaming sites within minutes.

他洗了個澡,剪了頭發。當然,他蓄著修剪過的小胡子,梳著齊肩長發,穿著一件嶄新的黑色西裝的視頻在幾分鐘內出現在多個直播網站上。

Before long, there was a note on his squat that read: “Mr. Shen is exhausted, both mentally and physically, and will be away for a while. Thank you!”

不久,他蹲著的地方貼了一張紙條,上面寫著:“沈某身心俱疲,要離開一段時間。謝謝你!”