The strange journey of a Chinese Internet addict — from cybercafes to pole dancing – Los Angeles Times

After spending three days and three nights at an Internet cafe, Hou Xing reluctantly parted with his keyboard, stepped out into the blistering sun and collapsed.

His parents found him there a few hours later, barely conscious. At 14, Hou was thin as a rail, with a back curved from hours spent hunched over a computer screen. His days were consumed by “The World of Legend,” a massive, multiplayer, online role-playing game that took precedence over eating and sleeping.

Today, it is hard to imagine Hou, 23, without his athletic build — his arms capable of keeping his entire body suspended in the air, his back straight as a plank.

A chance encounter during his Internet-addled days in China’s Zhejiang province transformed Hou into a nationally-ranked pole dancer who has little time for games.

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