A former Chinese whizkid who entered university at the age of 10 and was already a PhD candidate in Applied Mathematics at 16, spends his days doing nothing and relies on his parents for money.

Zhang Xinyang had always been destined for greatness. At just two and a half years old, he learned over a thousand Chinese characters within three months, and by age four, he was already in primary school. Born into a modest family, Zhang benefitted from his father’s tutelage and managed to skip several grades. At age six, he was already in fifth grade, and by age nine, he was enrolled in the third grade of high school. When he was ten years old, Zhang Xinyang became China’s youngest university student, getting accepted at the Tianjin University of Technology and Education. His genius surprised everyone, but as he grew, his attitude started to change…

My parents want me to stay in Beijing. Yet, if I did not have my own house here, I would be like those Beijing drifters. If I am like them, why then do my parents want me to get a Doctoral degree?

young Zhang said in a TV interview

Zhang Xinyang’s parents had always struggled to keep him in school, and his request was virtually impossible to fulfill. Still, they couldn’t bear the thought of him abandoning his studies when he had already achieved so much, so they rented a Beijing apartment and lied that they had bought it. Zhang’s father had also been a gifted child and he could have been in the first generation of students in the MBA program at Renmin University, but his family couldn’t afford to tutor him. Now he hoped his son would achieve everything he couldn’t and more.