Dou Yixin (right) and Chen Meng make their journey across the country on kick scooters to raise awareness about autism. Photo provided to China Daily
A book about two men, one in his 50s and the other in his 20s, taking a 7,000-kilometer journey on kick scooters was recently published.
A Journey of Love and Loneliness tells the story of their journey across the country, from north to south. But the two men are not your typical travel buffs. The younger man has autism, and the epic trip was their way of raising awareness about the condition.
The story really began, however, seven years ago when Dou Yixin, a successful businessman in Beijing learned about autism from a friend who wanted to set up a rehabilitation center for children who suffered from it.
Dou had never before heard of the incurable neuro-disorder, which impairs the sufferers' ability to interact socially and to communicate properly. People with autism can have trouble integrating into society and maintaining relationships. Most patients will suffer extreme loneliness throughout their lives.
"After spending some time with autistic children I realized that they badly need attention from society, but public awareness is poor," says Dou.
The businessman started to devote himself to building a rehabilitation center.