Netflix’s ‘The Joys and Sorrows of Young Yuguo’ is the fascinating tale of 16-year-old Chinese student Yin Yuguo, whose love for Romania, its culture, and its literature took him to a country thousands of miles from his hometown. As the documentary unfolds mostly through Yuguo’s eyes, the viewers learn about how he immersed himself in Romania’s culture as a student at a university. However, Yuguo’s story came to an unfortunate end in January 2019. So, if you’re wondering what happened to the teenager, here’s what we know.
Who Was Yin Yuguo?
Yin Yuguo was born and raised in Kunming, China. But for most of his life, he was enamored by Central and Eastern European literature, especially poetry. So, Yuguo decided to pursue his dreams and applied to several universities to study there. Eventually, he was accepted into the Vasile Alecsandri University of Bacău, Romania. Yuguo had always been a great fan of Mihai Eminescu, a Romanian romantic poet.
At just 16 years old, Yuguo traveled to a country he had never visited before, but his stay there left a lasting impact on many. As Yuguo took in the culture and the language, he also made the locals in Bacău see the place in a new light. The director of the documentary, Ilinca Calugareanu, said, “His love for poetry and people was so rare, and he loved Romania more than most of us do, certainly more than I did, until I discovered this new way to look at my own country through his eyes. He was a romantic, heroic character who needs to be celebrated.”
Yuguo loved traveling to different places in Romania and visited many museums there. According to the documentary, people fondly remembered him speaking in Romanian and even performing Mihai’s poetic works during a culture day at a museum. On December 1, 2018, Yuguo traveled to Alba Iulia, Romania, during the country’s 100th National Day. He said at the time, “I love Romanian culture and literature, and today I am here to celebrate with everyone; I wish Romania and Romanians a brilliant future.”
How Did Yin Yuguo Die?
Yuguo was pleasantly surprised by the warmth and friendliness the locals showed him, and he talked about not feeling lonely anymore. However, his time there was tragically cut short on January 26, 2019. On that day, Yuguo wanted to visit the Neamț Citadel in Romania. As per the show, the weather was terrible on that day, with a lot of snow. However, Yuguo decided to take the train there anyway.
At some point, the train stopped at a station longer than usual. It was reported that Yuguo took the wrong train, and in a state of panic, he jumped off it after it began moving. The 16-year-old didn’t know that underneath all the snow that he jumped into, there was a mile marker. Yuguo hit his head on the stone and died immediately after. He was found about 200 meters from the CFR Roman train station in Romania. On March 15, 2019, on the day Yuguo would have turned 17, he was made an honorary citizen of Bacău.