An old man
Representation. The hands of an elderly man. stevepb/Pixabay


  • A Chinese man, 73, returned to his country after being homeless in the U.S. for more than 33 years
  • He has threatened to take legal action against his wife if she does not give him half of their home
  • The man's story has drawn the ire of social media users in mainland China

An elderly Chinese man who left behind his family when he illegally immigrated to the United States 33 years ago has returned to his home country and threatened to sue his wife if she does not give him half her home, according to reports.

Liu Yusheng, 73, abandoned his wife and then-8-year-old daughter in Shanghai when he moved to America in 1990 with his brother. The siblings believed they could earn large fortunes easily, the South China Morning Post reported Sunday, citing a piece published by news portal

While his brother soon returned to China after finding life in the U.S. as an illegal immigrant difficult, Liu stayed in the country and was unemployed and homeless for the past three decades.

Liu reportedly had no contact with his wife and his daughter over that period.

He was able to meet a Shanghai woman in New York last year who introduced him to the Association of Fellow Shanghainese in the U.S. in the hopes that the organization would be able to help him.

Members of the association raised donations online for Liu by taking videos of him and sharing them on social media. They raised $15,000 to buy Liu a plane ticket to Shanghai and cover his expenses.

Liu had previously claimed in viral videos that he hoped his family could forgive him, claiming he was unable to contact them since arriving in the U.S. because his money and passport were stolen.

He also claimed that he wanted to care for his wife and vowed to work hard to earn money should he be reunited with her.

However, both Liu's wife and his daughter refused to talk to or meet with him after he flew back home to Shanghai last year.

"You have been away from home for many years. You have always ignored your family. So our family will also treat you as nonexistent. We won't be reunited with you," Liu's son-in-law, who represented his wife and daughter, told the media.

Liu has since asked his wife to let him occupy half of her downtown Shanghai home or pay him half of the residence's market value, threatening to take legal action should the demands be ignored.

At the time Liu left China, his family lived in an apartment that was allocated to him by the state-owned institute he worked at.

The house was later demolished, and authorities compensated Liu's family with their current home, which is now reportedly worth millions of Chinese yuan. A million yuan is currently worth around $145,205.

Liu, who is staying at a shelter in Shanghai right now, denied that he was trying to take his wife's home.

Meanwhile, Liu's wife has not publicly commented on his threat.

It is not clear whether Liu's marriage with his wife is still valid, according to China-based lawyer Shen Bo.

Should it still be valid, Liu is not allowed to try and split the house's ownership, Shen told the South China Morning Post.

"If Liu files a divorce lawsuit, it's quite possible the court will regard Liu as a wrongdoer because of his abandonment of his wife and daughter years ago and the court will be inclined to favor his wife's interests," he explained.

"In the lawsuit, Liu's wife can seek compensation from him as she has brought up their daughter alone," Shen added.

Liu's story has reportedly drawn angry responses from Chinese social media users.

"I am outraged! I am so angry with him that I cannot breathe. This old guy is so bad!" one person on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo said.

"It's OK to split the house's ownership. But let's settle the cost of raising the daughter over the past decades first; costs plus inflation. You give that to your wife first," another one commented.

The logo of Chinese social media app Weibo is seen on a mobile phone in this illustration picture taken December 7, 2021.
The logo of Chinese social media app Weibo is seen on a mobile phone in this illustration picture taken December 7, 2021. Reuters / FLORENCE LO