Chinese boy, 8, with 'frozen hair' goes viral after heartbreaking photos emerge

An 8-year-old boy from China, dubbed by many as the "Ice Boy" on social media recently, has reignited a discussion about child poverty after photos surfaced of him arriving at school with frost on his hair and swollen hands.

Many online say the heartbreaking photos of "Little Wang," who went viral earlier this week, shed light on China's efforts to help children from poor families.

See photos of Wang:

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Chinese boy with 'frozen hair' fuels poverty debate
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Chinese boy with 'frozen hair' fuels poverty debate
This photo taken on January 11, 2018 shows Wang Fuman, also known as 'Frost Boy', in Ludian in China's southwestern Yunnan province. A viral photo of a Chinese boy whose hair is encrusted with ice after his hour-long walk to school in freezing temperatures has stirred debate about the impact of poverty on children in rural regions. / AFP PHOTO / - / China OUT (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
This picture shows Wang Fuman, also known as 'Frost Boy', in Ludian in China's southwestern Yunnan province on January 12, 2018. A viral photo of a Chinese boy whose hair is encrusted with ice after his hour-long walk to school in freezing temperatures has stirred debate about the impact of poverty on children in rural regions. / AFP PHOTO / - / China OUT (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 11, 2018 shows Wang Fuman, also known as 'Frost Boy', with his family in Ludian in China's southwestern Yunnan province. A viral photo of a Chinese boy whose hair is encrusted with ice after his hour-long walk to school in freezing temperatures has stirred debate about the impact of poverty on children in rural regions. / AFP PHOTO / - / China OUT (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
Wang Fuman, also known as 'Frost Boy', walks on the road in Ludian in China's southwestern Yunnan province on January 12, 2018. A viral photo of a Chinese boy whose hair is encrusted with ice after his hour-long walk to school in freezing temperatures has stirred debate about the impact of poverty on children in rural regions. / AFP PHOTO / - / China OUT (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
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They also sympathize with Wang's harsh journey to and from school in the southwestern province of Yunnan.

According to the state-run China News Service agency, the young boy walks nearly 3 miles every morning to get to school, which reportedly takes him about an hour. The agency also reported that on the day the viral photos of Wang were taken, the temperature was 15.8F.

Wang's teacher reportedly captured the photos of him arriving to school on Jan. 8. and sent them to the headmaster and several others before the photos landed on China's popular microblog site, Sina Weibo.

SEE ALSO: New poll reveals China is the most optimistic country in the world

Since going viral, Wang's story has prompted thousands online to donate money and clothes to the boy, using the hashtag "#IceBoy" to spread awareness.

The South China Morning Post reported that local authorities even donated $15,370 to the Zhuangshanbao primary school, where Wang attends in a city that reportedly has over 1.13 million people living below the poverty line. Additionally, students at the school were gifted $77 and 144 pieces of winter clothing according to the local outlet.

In a statement Friday, the Yunnan Youth Development Foundation also announced that it had received $333,861 in donations after it launched a campaign to help impoverished youths in the province.

RELATED: Drone photos reveal poverty in Mexico city

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Drone photos reveal poverty in Mexico city
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Drone photos reveal poverty in Mexico city

Mexico City is a bustling metropolis that sits atop a dried lakebed. The region once served as the heartland of the Aztec Empire, until the Spaniards conquered it in the 16th century.

Johnny Miller/Thomson Reuters Foundation

There are reminders of its ancient history in street names and festivals. But in many ways, Mexico City is not unlike many US cities, with its triple-decker highways and skyscrapers.

Johnny Miller/Thomson Reuters Foundation

One thing sets it apart. Mexico's capital city is one of the most unequal cities in the world.

Johnny Miller/Thomson Reuters Foundation

Economic and political power are concentrated among the extremely rich. In fact, the wealthiest 1% of the Mexican population earns 21% of the nation's total income.

Johnny Miller/Thomson Reuters Foundation

Carlos Slim Helu, the world's fourth richest person, calls Mexico City home. His telecommunications company, Telcel, controlled 70% of Mexico's wireless market in 2014.

Johnny Miller/Thomson Reuters Foundation

Mexico City's upper class lives in new developments, gated communities, and sprawling, leafy neighborhoods located just outside the downtown area.

Johnny Miller/Thomson Reuters Foundation

Meanwhile, those living in poverty reside in ramshackle dwellings. Their neighborhoods pack them in closely, like sardines in a can. 

Johnny Miller/Thomson Reuters Foundation

Mexico City's most blighted area, Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl (or Neza, for short), is inhabited by over one million people spread across 24 square miles. It appears to go on forever.

Johnny Miller/Thomson Reuters Foundation

Miller says it's disheartening to walk among the laborers who built the glittering skyscrapers seen in the distance. They will likely never be able to live there.

Johnny Miller/Thomson Reuters Foundation

Here, a low-income neighborhood sits adjacent to private school grounds. "I think it's very clear, looking at that dirt soccer pitch, which side is the more affluent side," Miller says.

Johnny Miller/Thomson Reuters Foundation

Miller, who currently lives in Cape Town, South Africa, flew to Mexico City on assignment with the Thompson Reuters Foundation. He knew the city lent itself to aerial photography.

Johnny Miller/Thomson Reuters Foundation

Google Maps and a fellow photographer, who was more familiar with the area, helped Miller identify safe places to launch and land his DJI Inspire One drone. It costs about $3,000.

Johnny Miller/Thomson Reuters Foundation

The drone communicates with an app on his cell phone, so Miller can see what the drone sees. A typical flight lasts 10 minutes, and he snaps 10 to 20 photos at each site.

Johnny Miller/Thomson Reuters Foundation

The results are dizzying.

Johnny Miller/Thomson Reuters Foundation

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