A viral photo of an eight-year-old Chinese student covered in ice and frost after his long walk to school has led to a nationwide debate about childhood poverty.

Wang Fuman, dubbed "Frost Boy" by social media users is a primary school student in southwest Yunnan province. His rosy cheeks and icy hair grabbed the attention of social media users.

The pictures of "Little Wang" was shared online by his school principal, Chinese media reported this week. The temperature was -9C on 8 January, the day the photo was taken.

According to the teacher, it generally takes the boy more than an hour to complete 4.5km (2.8 miles) to get to school, the state-owned China News Service agency reported.

Another photo of the boy, which was shared by tens of thousands of people, shows Wang's chapped and swollen hands kept above an exam sheet.

Online users started sharing the pictures, using the hashtag #FrostBoy.

Users on Weibo, a Chinese microblogging website, posted messages praising the boy's perseverance. "This child knows that knowledge can change his fate," a user said.

While others said, "His frozen little red face and he's wearing so little, he really looks pitiful."

After the online outrage, internet users collectively donated 100,000 yuan ($15,400, £11,371) to Wang's school and an another school in the area, Beijing News wrote on its Weibo account as of Wednesday, Channel News Asia reported.

Each student is said to receive 500 yuan ($77, £56) individually.

"I want to be a police officer to fight the bad guys," Wang told The Paper, a Shanghai-based publication.

"The journey to school is cold, but it's not hard!"

According to official statistics found in 2016, around 43.3 million rural residents still lived below China's official poverty line.

The condition of the "left-behind children" like Wang, whose parents work in cities while they continue to stay in the village, has also been widely discussed in recent years.