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'Masked boy' barred from kindergarten due to his burns

On Wednesday we published pictures of Yang Weihao, a 9-year-old boy who was badly injured in a fire. Today, Reuters moved a set of pictures of another Chinese boy, 6-year-old Wang Gengxiang, who suffered severe burns in a similar incident.

Jason Lee / Reuters

A combination picture shows Wang Gengxiang after he was severely burned in an accident (left) in a picture taken on Sept. 9, and in another photo taken before the accident, on June 1, 2010 (right).

Reuters reports that Gengxiang was hurt in an accident involving a pile of burning straw last winter. Most of the skin on his head was burned off, requiring him to wear a full surgical mask to prevent the scars from becoming infected. He has since become known as "Masked Boy". Doctors say that they cannot continue his skin-graft surgery until his damaged trachea, or windpipe, is strong enough, according to local media reports cited by Reuters.

Jason Lee / Reuters

Wang Gengxiang, known as "Masked Boy", plays with other children in a kindergarten classroom in Mijiazhuang village, Shanxi province, China, on Sept. 8.

Gengxiang is shown playing with other children at a kindergarten, but Reuters reports that he is not allowed to attend classes there. This is for his personal safety and due to concerns about how his presence might affect other children, according to his father. He is only allowed into the kindergarten to play during media visits.

Jason Lee / Reuters

Wang Gengxiang plays with a balloon in an alley in Mijiazhuang on Sept. 8.