The kang is a 2 meters wide platform found in most traditional homes of the Northern half of China. The platform is heated underneath by wood or coal fire.  The kang serves as a bed for the whole family but more than this, it is also a living place where family members spend hours chatting or playing especially in the winter months when there is little work to be done in the fields. The wall above the kang is the most personally decorated place in the home.    This series mainly shot in Gansu province is a record of China’s traditional rural lifestyle as peasants are forced to move out of their old homes into new ones, soulless rows of concrete buildings.    Qinting Village Jing Dingxia, (72) years  with his wife Zhao Nunu, (68) Their grandson Baoyu is currently studying Business English in Lanzhou  and would like to go on studying for a Masters degree which would enable him to find work in a big city but they would rather he came back and worked for the local government. A new village is being built down by the road. They have already put down 5000 RMB (800 USD) to reserve a plot of land but can't afford the 200 000 (32,000 USD) necessary to build a house on it. They hope their grandson will soon earn enough money to buy one of these new concrete house. 

The kang is a 2 meters wide platform found in most traditional homes of the Northern half of China. The platform is heated underneath by wood or coal fire.  The kang serves as a bed for the whole family but more than this, it is also a living place where family members spend hours chatting or playing especially in the winter months when there is little work to be done in the fields. The wall above the kang is the most personally decorated place in the home.

This series mainly shot in Gansu province is a record of China’s traditional rural lifestyle as peasants are forced to move out of their old homes into new ones, soulless rows of concrete buildings. 

Qinting Village
Jing Dingxia, (72) years  with his wife Zhao Nunu, (68)
Their grandson Baoyu is currently studying Business English in Lanzhou  and would like to go on studying for a Masters degree which would enable him to find work in a big city but they would rather he came back and worked for the local government.
A new village is being built down by the road. They have already put down 5000 RMB (800 USD) to reserve a plot of land but can't afford the 200 000 (32,000 USD) necessary to build a house on it. They hope their grandson will soon earn enough money to buy one of these new concrete house. 

 Inside the home of Jing and Zhao. A photo of their grandson Baoyu, with his grand father is placed against the mirror.

Inside the home of Jing and Zhao. A photo of their grandson Baoyu, with his grand father is placed against the mirror.

 Inshan Chen Xiuling (32) years old with her two children  He Yawen (9) and He Guanghui (6) Chen's husband is a migrant worker in the South of Gansu 4 hours by bus from the family home. He sets up electric lines in the countryside and comes back home every two months. They build a new house a year ago. She says the old house was warmer (the old house was made of adobe while the new one has concrete floors and walls) but she is still happy with new one. The construction of the house is not finished so for now they are living in the smaller room. She met her husband in Lanzhou (the capital city of Gansu province) where they were both migrant workers. She subsequently moved to her husband village where she is taking care of her children.   

Inshan
Chen Xiuling (32) years old with her two children  He Yawen (9)
and He Guanghui (6)
Chen's husband is a migrant worker in the South of Gansu 4 hours by bus from the family home. He sets up electric lines in the countryside and comes back home every two months.
They build a new house a year ago. She says the old house was warmer (the old house was made of adobe while the new one has concrete floors and walls) but she is still happy with new one. The construction of the house is not finished so for now they are living in the smaller room.
She met her husband in Lanzhou (the capital city of Gansu province) where they were both migrant workers. She subsequently moved to her husband village where she is taking care of her children.

 

 Broidery made by Chen on fabric covering the couch.

Broidery made by Chen on fabric covering the couch.

 Xincheng Fu Wenbin (15) on the kang he shares with his dad Fu Decang, (50) Wenbin was mostly brought up by his grandmother, as his father spent 5 years in prison. The grandma passed away when he came out, two years ago.  Wenbin will be entering middle school next year and would like to go on to high school if he can, but his father wants him to find a job.   

Xincheng
Fu Wenbin (15) on the kang he shares with his dad Fu Decang, (50) Wenbin was mostly brought up by his grandmother, as his father spent 5 years in prison. The grandma passed away when he came out, two years ago. 
Wenbin will be entering middle school next year and would like to go on to high school if he can, but his father wants him to find a job.

 

 A wall inside the home of Fu Decang.

A wall inside the home of Fu Decang.

 32 years old Niu Binggui, with his three years old son Niu Haoran Niu Binggui is a cook for a construction company in Ningxia province several hundred of kilometers away from the family hometown.  He is now is own boss in charge of the catering for the construction site. It means a little more money but also more responsibilities. For 10 years he has been working as a cook in restaurants and dreams of opening his own, but lacks the funds to do so.  In two day he will be leaving for work at the end of his new year break. He won't see his family again before months.    

32 years old Niu Binggui, with his three years old son Niu Haoran
Niu Binggui is a cook for a construction company in Ningxia province several hundred of kilometers away from the family hometown.  He is now is own boss in charge of the catering for the construction site. It means a little more money but also more responsibilities. For 10 years he has been working as a cook in restaurants and dreams of opening his own, but lacks the funds to do so.

In two day he will be leaving for work at the end of his new year break. He won't see his family again before months.  
 

 Wedding portrait in Niu's room.

Wedding portrait in Niu's room.

 Yu Jiaping Yu Zhanglai (67) with his wife Dong Juming (67).  60% of the population of Yu Jiaping has moved down to the new village but a new house costs 200K RMB (32,000 US$) and they can't afford to move. A new road has been built between the old and the new village. Each family contributed 1,000R RMB to the construction but they are too poor to contribute.

Yu Jiaping
Yu Zhanglai (67) with his wife Dong Juming (67).

60% of the population of Yu Jiaping has moved down to the new village but a new house costs 200K RMB (32,000 US$) and they can't afford to move.
A new road has been built between the old and the new village. Each family contributed 1,000R RMB to the construction but they are too poor to contribute.

 Tea pot on the burner at the home of Yu Zhanglai and his wife.

Tea pot on the burner at the home of Yu Zhanglai and his wife.

 Dashi Li Caiping (46)  She has 2 daughters and 1 son. Her eldest daughter is a dancer in a show for tourists at the National Park of Jiuzhaigou (Sichuan) and helps Li financially. She has a bad leg resulting from birth defect. Li rents out her land to neighbours and keeps 1 mu for herself.   Her son (16yo) has quit school and doesn't work. "Boys are harder to raise than girls. They are lazy", she says   

Dashi
Li Caiping (46) 
She has 2 daughters and 1 son. Her eldest daughter is a dancer in a show for tourists at the National Park of Jiuzhaigou (Sichuan) and helps Li financially.
She has a bad leg resulting from birth defect. Li rents out her land to neighbours and keeps 1 mu for herself. 

Her son (16yo) has quit school and doesn't work. "Boys are harder to raise than girls. They are lazy", she says

 

 Wall in Li Caiping's courtyard.

Wall in Li Caiping's courtyard.

 Huangmen Wang Huanguo, 77 years old She has bound feet. She can't remember exactly when they started bandaging her feet but probably when she was around 4 years old. In those days, all the girls would get their feet bound. This practice stopped after the Liberation. She used to walk long distances to go to temple fairs but now she is too old and never goes very far. She says it hurts too much. "All my feet bones are broken"  "but my grandmother's feet were even smaller!" she adds.  Her eldest grand-son paid for the renovation of her house which she keeps neatly clean.

Huangmen
Wang Huanguo, 77 years old
She has bound feet. She can't remember exactly when they started bandaging her feet but probably when she was around 4 years old. In those days, all the girls would get their feet bound. This practice stopped after the Liberation.
She used to walk long distances to go to temple fairs but now she is too old and never goes very far. She says it hurts too much. "All my feet bones are broken"
 "but my grandmother's feet were even smaller!" she adds.

Her eldest grand-son paid for the renovation of her house which she keeps neatly clean.

 Wang Huanguo needs a stick to walk with her bound feet.

Wang Huanguo needs a stick to walk with her bound feet.

 Shanmen Jin Fener, (63) with her grand-granddaughter Ma Xiyang, (12). Xiyang's father is mentally ill and recently cracked his skull open in a bad fall. He has been bedridden for a month. She has to look after both of them with barely any income. Her husband was away spraying pesticides in their fields, half an hour away from the village. They also produce a bit of honey (30 yuan / jin)  

Shanmen
Jin Fener, (63) with her grand-granddaughter Ma Xiyang, (12).
Xiyang's father is mentally ill and recently cracked his skull open in a bad fall. He has been bedridden for a month. She has to look after both of them with barely any income. Her husband was away spraying pesticides in their fields, half an hour away from the village. They also produce a bit of honey (30 yuan / jin)
 

 In Jin Fener's courtyard.

In Jin Fener's courtyard.

 Jinshan From left to right : Wang Yandi (16) Wang Lei (5) Wang Yanxia (21)  Lei's mother is working over a thousand kilometers away in a supermarket in Xinjiang where the wages are higher. Yandi & Yanxia, two sisters, are taking care of their little nephew. They are on their own as their parents have passed away.

Jinshan
From left to right : Wang Yandi (16) Wang Lei (5) Wang Yanxia (21)
 Lei's mother is working over a thousand kilometers away in a supermarket in Xinjiang where the wages are higher. Yandi & Yanxia, two sisters, are taking care of their little nephew. They are on their own as their parents have passed away.

 On the wall of the Wangs'home.

On the wall of the Wangs'home.

 The courtyard of the Wang family.

The courtyard of the Wang family.

   
  
 
  
    
  
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     72 years old Chen Guiqin, with her 73 years old husband Liu Yanggao. They have two daughters and two grand daughters.       

72 years old Chen Guiqin, with her 73 years old husband Liu Yanggao. They have two daughters and two grand daughters.

 

 

 The ancestors altar in the home of  Chen Guiqin and Liu Yanggao. The calligraphy is a quote from former Communist Party Secretary Zhang Zemin.

The ancestors altar in the home of Chen Guiqin and Liu Yanggao. The calligraphy is a quote from former Communist Party Secretary Zhang Zemin.

 70 years old Peng Jinjin,  all smile with his newly born grand daughter Xiyuan laying on the kang next to him.  All is not happiness in Peng's life, though. His son committed suicide after his wife left him, leaving Peng in charge of another grand daughter. Sitting on the left is Peng's brother, 76 years old Xusheng, who never got married. 

70 years old Peng Jinjin,  all smile with his newly born grand daughter Xiyuan laying on the kang next to him. 
All is not happiness in Peng's life, though. His son committed suicide after his wife left him, leaving Peng in charge of another grand daughter.
Sitting on the left is Peng's brother, 76 years old Xusheng, who never got married. 

  On the wall of Peng's home.

On the wall of Peng's home.

 Peng Yongjie, 38 yo, with his wife 30 years old Di Jinfang and their 40 days old daughter.  Peng And Di have been trying to have a baby since they got married 8 years ago. They have sought help from local private clinics with no success and at mounting costs. Eventually  they went to the county hospital who quoted them with 20,000RMB (US$ 3,200) for artificial insemination. At the time Peng and Di only had 3,000 RMB in savings. For four years Peng and Di saved money to eventually be able to pay for the operation last year. The first attempt was successful. They now want to have another baby, a boy. The poster on the wall was put up 7 years ago.  Peng is a construction worker and makes about 100 CNY (16US$) a day. The picture was taken the day before Peng's departure for work after the Chinese New Year break.       

Peng Yongjie, 38 yo, with his wife 30 years old Di Jinfang and their 40 days old daughter.

Peng And Di have been trying to have a baby since they got married 8 years ago. They have sought help from local private clinics with no success and at mounting costs. Eventually  they went to the county hospital who quoted them with 20,000RMB (US$ 3,200) for artificial insemination. At the time Peng and Di only had 3,000 RMB in savings. For four years Peng and Di saved money to eventually be able to pay for the operation last year. The first attempt was successful. They now want to have another baby, a boy. The poster on the wall was put up 7 years ago.

Peng is a construction worker and makes about 100 CNY (16US$) a day. The picture was taken the day before Peng's departure for work after the Chinese New Year break. 

 

 

 74 years old Wang Juju     

74 years old Wang Juju
 

 

 A comforter on Wang Juju's kang.

A comforter on Wang Juju's kang.

 65 years old, Niu Wenxuan,  Besides farming, Niu has a passion for calligraphy and he occasionally does restauration of old scrolls. The scrolls hanging above his kang date back from the Qing Dynasty.      

65 years old, Niu Wenxuan, 
Besides farming, Niu has a passion for calligraphy and he occasionally does restauration of old scrolls. The scrolls hanging above his kang date back from the Qing Dynasty.

 

 

 Couch in the home of Niu Wenxuan.

Couch in the home of Niu Wenxuan.

 22 years old Niu Taotao. Niu left her village at 17 to work in Beijing, after 3 years there she came back to her village to take care of her younger brother (their parents have died). She has a boyfriend who she was introduced to through a relative. He is is from the same county but works hundreds of kilometers away in a factory in Beijing. They only met twice and talk regularly via the internet. She is unsure about this relation and does not plan to get married before her younger brother goes to college.   She enjoys more the life in the village which finds more comfortable and safer than Beijing. She is taking care of the small family apple orchard and enjoys watching tv during her free time. 

22 years old Niu Taotao.
Niu left her village at 17 to work in Beijing, after 3 years there she came back to her village to take care of her younger brother (their parents have died).
She has a boyfriend who she was introduced to through a relative. He is is from the same county but works hundreds of kilometers away in a factory in Beijing. They only met twice and talk regularly via the internet. She is unsure about this relation and does not plan to get married before her younger brother goes to college. 

She enjoys more the life in the village which finds more comfortable and safer than Beijing. She is taking care of the small family apple orchard and enjoys watching tv during her free time. 

 The living space across from the Kang in Niu's home.

The living space across from the Kang in Niu's home.

20150318_2207.jpg
20150318_2211-2.jpg
 12 years old He Tiantian on the kang she shares with her aunt who is raising her. Her mother died in an accident when she was 5 and her father has not been heard of after he left the village to find some work the same year.  She wants to be a dancer.     

12 years old He Tiantian on the kang she shares with her aunt who is raising her. Her mother died in an accident when she was 5 and her father has not been heard of after he left the village to find some work the same year.  She wants to be a dancer.
 

 

20150318_2341.jpg
 73 years old An Shoujia. An is a strong believer in Buddha and thinks he is helping her with her ailments (back pain).   Her 77 yo husband was working in the fields when this picture was taken.   

73 years old An Shoujia.
An is a strong believer in Buddha and thinks he is helping her with her ailments (back pain).  
Her 77 yo husband was working in the fields when this picture was taken.

 

 On the wall above An's kang.

On the wall above An's kang.

 Huanghui new village  65 years old Zheng Julian on her broken kang. 8 years ago Zheng and her family had to leave their village 50 kilometers away officially because of desertification. She complains that the land they were given is no better than the one they left and says the houses built by the government for the relocated farmers are poorly built.  "When I had to leave, I cried so much I thought I would become blind."  On her wall, the school diplomas and awards of her grandson as well as a 4 years old calendar featuring a picture of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao visiting her region, during which he made a pledge to fight desertification.

Huanghui new village

65 years old Zheng Julian on her broken kang. 8 years ago Zheng and her family had to leave their village 50 kilometers away officially because of desertification. She complains that the land they were given is no better than the one they left and says the houses built by the government for the relocated farmers are poorly built.

"When I had to leave, I cried so much I thought I would become blind."

On her wall, the school diplomas and awards of her grandson as well as a 4 years old calendar featuring a picture of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao visiting her region, during which he made a pledge to fight desertification.

 The door to Zheng's room. 

The door to Zheng's room. 

 Dashi village  90 years old, Li Shutao Li has 20 grandchildren, most of them migrant workers but they keep foot in the village. In his youth Li was a farm worker travelling on train rooftops following the harvest season from county to county, all the way to the neighbouring province of Shaanxi. This is as far as he has ever travelled.  During the great hunger of the 60s he urged his sons to leave the village and go and beg for food in Shaanxi. He told them to pretend to be mute so they could more easily get on trains.   

Dashi village

90 years old, Li Shutao
Li has 20 grandchildren, most of them migrant workers but they keep foot in the village.
In his youth Li was a farm worker travelling on train rooftops following the harvest season from county to county, all the way to the neighbouring province of Shaanxi. This is as far as he has ever travelled.

During the great hunger of the 60s he urged his sons to leave the village and go and beg for food in Shaanxi. He told them to pretend to be mute so they could more easily get on trains.

 

20150417_6675.jpg
  On the wall of Li Shutao's home

On the wall of Li Shutao's home

 Jinshan Village Jiang Shuanwa (62) with her husband  Yo Mingyi (64) At the age of 17, relatives introduced Jiang to a local young man she was supposed to marry. Jiang felt otherwise and wasn't so keen on the chosen one, so when her path crossed that of Yo on a village road, she decided he was a better fit and married him. Jiang and Yo are taking care of their grand daughter who is going to middle school and it's a heavy burden on this household with little income.  School is free but they have to pay for food, books, uniform which amounts to 2000 RMB (320 USD) a year.  Soon they will have to rent a room in the city so that she can go to high school which will add another 2000 RMB. They can't afford it.    

Jinshan Village
Jiang Shuanwa (62) with her husband  Yo Mingyi (64)
At the age of 17, relatives introduced Jiang to a local young man she was supposed to marry. Jiang felt otherwise and wasn't so keen on the chosen one, so when her path crossed that of Yo on a village road, she decided he was a better fit and married him.
Jiang and Yo are taking care of their grand daughter who is going to middle school and it's a heavy burden on this household with little income. 
School is free but they have to pay for food, books, uniform which amounts to 2000 RMB (320 USD) a year. 
Soon they will have to rent a room in the city so that she can go to high school which will add another 2000 RMB. They can't afford it. 

 

 The wall at the entrance of Jang and yo's home.

The wall at the entrance of Jang and yo's home.

 Huangmen Zhang Guizi (71) In his home, Zhang has a huge poster of Mao. Even though he complains about the destruction of the local Taoist Temple during the cultural revolution, he worships Mao who he says got his family out of pverty. Before the revolution they were living in a cave with no land of their own. They had to rent half a mu from the temple to be able to farm and had to give back  a share of their crops in return. After the Liberation, they were given two mu and a cow but it wasn't until the Cultural Revolution that they didn't have to share their crops with the temple. In the 80's a fake Taoist monk came to live in the temple and was living off the locals credulity. He died 4 years ago and now the Temple has just been renovated with financial contribution from all villagers. Zhang says it's not anywhere as beautiful as it was before, with poorly made statues and drawings but he is still happy to see it alive again.    

Huangmen
Zhang Guizi (71)
In his home, Zhang has a huge poster of Mao. Even though he complains about the destruction of the local Taoist Temple during the cultural revolution, he worships Mao who he says got his family out of pverty. Before the revolution they were living in a cave with no land of their own. They had to rent half a mu from the temple to be able to farm and had to give back  a share of their crops in return.
After the Liberation, they were given two mu and a cow but it wasn't until the Cultural Revolution that they didn't have to share their crops with the temple.
In the 80's a fake Taoist monk came to live in the temple and was living off the locals credulity. He died 4 years ago and now the Temple has just been renovated with financial contribution from all villagers. Zhang says it's not anywhere as beautiful as it was before, with poorly made statues and drawings but he is still happy to see it alive again.    

 The coal burning stove next to Zhang's kang.

The coal burning stove next to Zhang's kang.

  The kang is a 2 meters wide platform found in most traditional homes of the Northern half of China. The platform is heated underneath by wood or coal fire and often connects with the kitchen stove so that the fire heats up both places.  The kang serves as a bed for the whole family but more than this, it is also a living place where family members spend hours chatting or playing especially in the winter months when there is little work to be done in the fields. The wall above the kang is the most personally decorated place in the home (the wall facing the entrance is dedicated to ancestors, calligraphy, gods including Mao).    This series mainly shot in Gansu province is a record of China’s traditional rural lifestyle as peasants are forced to move out of their old homes into new ones, soulless rows of concrete buildings.    Liu Lucheng, 84 yo, with his wife Yang Fanxiu, 83. They don't have energy any more to take care of their field. Their only son died in 2008.   

The kang is a 2 meters wide platform found in most traditional homes of the Northern half of China. The platform is heated underneath by wood or coal fire and often connects with the kitchen stove so that the fire heats up both places.  The kang serves as a bed for the whole family but more than this, it is also a living place where family members spend hours chatting or playing especially in the winter months when there is little work to be done in the fields. The wall above the kang is the most personally decorated place in the home (the wall facing the entrance is dedicated to ancestors, calligraphy, gods including Mao).

This series mainly shot in Gansu province is a record of China’s traditional rural lifestyle as peasants are forced to move out of their old homes into new ones, soulless rows of concrete buildings. 

Liu Lucheng, 84 yo, with his wife Yang Fanxiu, 83.
They don't have energy any more to take care of their field. Their only son died in 2008.

 

 Yang Fanxiu spends her days making straw hats.

Yang Fanxiu spends her days making straw hats.

  The kang is a 2 meters wide platform found in most traditional homes of the Northern half of China. The platform is heated underneath by wood or coal fire.  The kang serves as a bed for the whole family but more than this, it is also a living place where family members spend hours chatting or playing especially in the winter months when there is little work to be done in the fields. The wall above the kang is the most personally decorated place in the home.    This series mainly shot in Gansu province is a record of China’s traditional rural lifestyle as peasants are forced to move out of their old homes into new ones, soulless rows of concrete buildings.    Qinting Village Jing Dingxia, (72) years  with his wife Zhao Nunu, (68) Their grandson Baoyu is currently studying Business English in Lanzhou  and would like to go on studying for a Masters degree which would enable him to find work in a big city but they would rather he came back and worked for the local government. A new village is being built down by the road. They have already put down 5000 RMB (800 USD) to reserve a plot of land but can't afford the 200 000 (32,000 USD) necessary to build a house on it. They hope their grandson will soon earn enough money to buy one of these new concrete house. 
 Inside the home of Jing and Zhao. A photo of their grandson Baoyu, with his grand father is placed against the mirror.
 Inshan Chen Xiuling (32) years old with her two children  He Yawen (9) and He Guanghui (6) Chen's husband is a migrant worker in the South of Gansu 4 hours by bus from the family home. He sets up electric lines in the countryside and comes back home every two months. They build a new house a year ago. She says the old house was warmer (the old house was made of adobe while the new one has concrete floors and walls) but she is still happy with new one. The construction of the house is not finished so for now they are living in the smaller room. She met her husband in Lanzhou (the capital city of Gansu province) where they were both migrant workers. She subsequently moved to her husband village where she is taking care of her children.   
 Broidery made by Chen on fabric covering the couch.
 Xincheng Fu Wenbin (15) on the kang he shares with his dad Fu Decang, (50) Wenbin was mostly brought up by his grandmother, as his father spent 5 years in prison. The grandma passed away when he came out, two years ago.  Wenbin will be entering middle school next year and would like to go on to high school if he can, but his father wants him to find a job.   
 A wall inside the home of Fu Decang.
 32 years old Niu Binggui, with his three years old son Niu Haoran Niu Binggui is a cook for a construction company in Ningxia province several hundred of kilometers away from the family hometown.  He is now is own boss in charge of the catering for the construction site. It means a little more money but also more responsibilities. For 10 years he has been working as a cook in restaurants and dreams of opening his own, but lacks the funds to do so.  In two day he will be leaving for work at the end of his new year break. He won't see his family again before months.    
 Wedding portrait in Niu's room.
 Yu Jiaping Yu Zhanglai (67) with his wife Dong Juming (67).  60% of the population of Yu Jiaping has moved down to the new village but a new house costs 200K RMB (32,000 US$) and they can't afford to move. A new road has been built between the old and the new village. Each family contributed 1,000R RMB to the construction but they are too poor to contribute.
 Tea pot on the burner at the home of Yu Zhanglai and his wife.
 Dashi Li Caiping (46)  She has 2 daughters and 1 son. Her eldest daughter is a dancer in a show for tourists at the National Park of Jiuzhaigou (Sichuan) and helps Li financially. She has a bad leg resulting from birth defect. Li rents out her land to neighbours and keeps 1 mu for herself.   Her son (16yo) has quit school and doesn't work. "Boys are harder to raise than girls. They are lazy", she says   
 Wall in Li Caiping's courtyard.
 Huangmen Wang Huanguo, 77 years old She has bound feet. She can't remember exactly when they started bandaging her feet but probably when she was around 4 years old. In those days, all the girls would get their feet bound. This practice stopped after the Liberation. She used to walk long distances to go to temple fairs but now she is too old and never goes very far. She says it hurts too much. "All my feet bones are broken"  "but my grandmother's feet were even smaller!" she adds.  Her eldest grand-son paid for the renovation of her house which she keeps neatly clean.
 Wang Huanguo needs a stick to walk with her bound feet.
 Shanmen Jin Fener, (63) with her grand-granddaughter Ma Xiyang, (12). Xiyang's father is mentally ill and recently cracked his skull open in a bad fall. He has been bedridden for a month. She has to look after both of them with barely any income. Her husband was away spraying pesticides in their fields, half an hour away from the village. They also produce a bit of honey (30 yuan / jin)  
 In Jin Fener's courtyard.
 Jinshan From left to right : Wang Yandi (16) Wang Lei (5) Wang Yanxia (21)  Lei's mother is working over a thousand kilometers away in a supermarket in Xinjiang where the wages are higher. Yandi & Yanxia, two sisters, are taking care of their little nephew. They are on their own as their parents have passed away.
 On the wall of the Wangs'home.
 The courtyard of the Wang family.
   
  
 
  
    
  
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     72 years old Chen Guiqin, with her 73 years old husband Liu Yanggao. They have two daughters and two grand daughters.       
 The ancestors altar in the home of  Chen Guiqin and Liu Yanggao. The calligraphy is a quote from former Communist Party Secretary Zhang Zemin.
 70 years old Peng Jinjin,  all smile with his newly born grand daughter Xiyuan laying on the kang next to him.  All is not happiness in Peng's life, though. His son committed suicide after his wife left him, leaving Peng in charge of another grand daughter. Sitting on the left is Peng's brother, 76 years old Xusheng, who never got married. 
  On the wall of Peng's home.
 Peng Yongjie, 38 yo, with his wife 30 years old Di Jinfang and their 40 days old daughter.  Peng And Di have been trying to have a baby since they got married 8 years ago. They have sought help from local private clinics with no success and at mounting costs. Eventually  they went to the county hospital who quoted them with 20,000RMB (US$ 3,200) for artificial insemination. At the time Peng and Di only had 3,000 RMB in savings. For four years Peng and Di saved money to eventually be able to pay for the operation last year. The first attempt was successful. They now want to have another baby, a boy. The poster on the wall was put up 7 years ago.  Peng is a construction worker and makes about 100 CNY (16US$) a day. The picture was taken the day before Peng's departure for work after the Chinese New Year break.       
 74 years old Wang Juju     
 A comforter on Wang Juju's kang.
 65 years old, Niu Wenxuan,  Besides farming, Niu has a passion for calligraphy and he occasionally does restauration of old scrolls. The scrolls hanging above his kang date back from the Qing Dynasty.      
 Couch in the home of Niu Wenxuan.
 22 years old Niu Taotao. Niu left her village at 17 to work in Beijing, after 3 years there she came back to her village to take care of her younger brother (their parents have died). She has a boyfriend who she was introduced to through a relative. He is is from the same county but works hundreds of kilometers away in a factory in Beijing. They only met twice and talk regularly via the internet. She is unsure about this relation and does not plan to get married before her younger brother goes to college.   She enjoys more the life in the village which finds more comfortable and safer than Beijing. She is taking care of the small family apple orchard and enjoys watching tv during her free time. 
 The living space across from the Kang in Niu's home.
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20150318_2211-2.jpg
 12 years old He Tiantian on the kang she shares with her aunt who is raising her. Her mother died in an accident when she was 5 and her father has not been heard of after he left the village to find some work the same year.  She wants to be a dancer.     
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 73 years old An Shoujia. An is a strong believer in Buddha and thinks he is helping her with her ailments (back pain).   Her 77 yo husband was working in the fields when this picture was taken.   
 On the wall above An's kang.
 Huanghui new village  65 years old Zheng Julian on her broken kang. 8 years ago Zheng and her family had to leave their village 50 kilometers away officially because of desertification. She complains that the land they were given is no better than the one they left and says the houses built by the government for the relocated farmers are poorly built.  "When I had to leave, I cried so much I thought I would become blind."  On her wall, the school diplomas and awards of her grandson as well as a 4 years old calendar featuring a picture of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao visiting her region, during which he made a pledge to fight desertification.
 The door to Zheng's room. 
 Dashi village  90 years old, Li Shutao Li has 20 grandchildren, most of them migrant workers but they keep foot in the village. In his youth Li was a farm worker travelling on train rooftops following the harvest season from county to county, all the way to the neighbouring province of Shaanxi. This is as far as he has ever travelled.  During the great hunger of the 60s he urged his sons to leave the village and go and beg for food in Shaanxi. He told them to pretend to be mute so they could more easily get on trains.   
20150417_6675.jpg
  On the wall of Li Shutao's home
 Jinshan Village Jiang Shuanwa (62) with her husband  Yo Mingyi (64) At the age of 17, relatives introduced Jiang to a local young man she was supposed to marry. Jiang felt otherwise and wasn't so keen on the chosen one, so when her path crossed that of Yo on a village road, she decided he was a better fit and married him. Jiang and Yo are taking care of their grand daughter who is going to middle school and it's a heavy burden on this household with little income.  School is free but they have to pay for food, books, uniform which amounts to 2000 RMB (320 USD) a year.  Soon they will have to rent a room in the city so that she can go to high school which will add another 2000 RMB. They can't afford it.    
 The wall at the entrance of Jang and yo's home.
 Huangmen Zhang Guizi (71) In his home, Zhang has a huge poster of Mao. Even though he complains about the destruction of the local Taoist Temple during the cultural revolution, he worships Mao who he says got his family out of pverty. Before the revolution they were living in a cave with no land of their own. They had to rent half a mu from the temple to be able to farm and had to give back  a share of their crops in return. After the Liberation, they were given two mu and a cow but it wasn't until the Cultural Revolution that they didn't have to share their crops with the temple. In the 80's a fake Taoist monk came to live in the temple and was living off the locals credulity. He died 4 years ago and now the Temple has just been renovated with financial contribution from all villagers. Zhang says it's not anywhere as beautiful as it was before, with poorly made statues and drawings but he is still happy to see it alive again.    
 The coal burning stove next to Zhang's kang.
  The kang is a 2 meters wide platform found in most traditional homes of the Northern half of China. The platform is heated underneath by wood or coal fire and often connects with the kitchen stove so that the fire heats up both places.  The kang serves as a bed for the whole family but more than this, it is also a living place where family members spend hours chatting or playing especially in the winter months when there is little work to be done in the fields. The wall above the kang is the most personally decorated place in the home (the wall facing the entrance is dedicated to ancestors, calligraphy, gods including Mao).    This series mainly shot in Gansu province is a record of China’s traditional rural lifestyle as peasants are forced to move out of their old homes into new ones, soulless rows of concrete buildings.    Liu Lucheng, 84 yo, with his wife Yang Fanxiu, 83. They don't have energy any more to take care of their field. Their only son died in 2008.   
 Yang Fanxiu spends her days making straw hats.

The kang is a 2 meters wide platform found in most traditional homes of the Northern half of China. The platform is heated underneath by wood or coal fire.  The kang serves as a bed for the whole family but more than this, it is also a living place where family members spend hours chatting or playing especially in the winter months when there is little work to be done in the fields. The wall above the kang is the most personally decorated place in the home.

This series mainly shot in Gansu province is a record of China’s traditional rural lifestyle as peasants are forced to move out of their old homes into new ones, soulless rows of concrete buildings. 

Qinting Village
Jing Dingxia, (72) years  with his wife Zhao Nunu, (68)
Their grandson Baoyu is currently studying Business English in Lanzhou  and would like to go on studying for a Masters degree which would enable him to find work in a big city but they would rather he came back and worked for the local government.
A new village is being built down by the road. They have already put down 5000 RMB (800 USD) to reserve a plot of land but can't afford the 200 000 (32,000 USD) necessary to build a house on it. They hope their grandson will soon earn enough money to buy one of these new concrete house. 

Inside the home of Jing and Zhao. A photo of their grandson Baoyu, with his grand father is placed against the mirror.

Inshan
Chen Xiuling (32) years old with her two children  He Yawen (9)
and He Guanghui (6)
Chen's husband is a migrant worker in the South of Gansu 4 hours by bus from the family home. He sets up electric lines in the countryside and comes back home every two months.
They build a new house a year ago. She says the old house was warmer (the old house was made of adobe while the new one has concrete floors and walls) but she is still happy with new one. The construction of the house is not finished so for now they are living in the smaller room.
She met her husband in Lanzhou (the capital city of Gansu province) where they were both migrant workers. She subsequently moved to her husband village where she is taking care of her children.

 

Broidery made by Chen on fabric covering the couch.

Xincheng
Fu Wenbin (15) on the kang he shares with his dad Fu Decang, (50) Wenbin was mostly brought up by his grandmother, as his father spent 5 years in prison. The grandma passed away when he came out, two years ago. 
Wenbin will be entering middle school next year and would like to go on to high school if he can, but his father wants him to find a job.

 

A wall inside the home of Fu Decang.

32 years old Niu Binggui, with his three years old son Niu Haoran
Niu Binggui is a cook for a construction company in Ningxia province several hundred of kilometers away from the family hometown.  He is now is own boss in charge of the catering for the construction site. It means a little more money but also more responsibilities. For 10 years he has been working as a cook in restaurants and dreams of opening his own, but lacks the funds to do so.

In two day he will be leaving for work at the end of his new year break. He won't see his family again before months.  
 

Wedding portrait in Niu's room.

Yu Jiaping
Yu Zhanglai (67) with his wife Dong Juming (67).

60% of the population of Yu Jiaping has moved down to the new village but a new house costs 200K RMB (32,000 US$) and they can't afford to move.
A new road has been built between the old and the new village. Each family contributed 1,000R RMB to the construction but they are too poor to contribute.

Tea pot on the burner at the home of Yu Zhanglai and his wife.

Dashi
Li Caiping (46) 
She has 2 daughters and 1 son. Her eldest daughter is a dancer in a show for tourists at the National Park of Jiuzhaigou (Sichuan) and helps Li financially.
She has a bad leg resulting from birth defect. Li rents out her land to neighbours and keeps 1 mu for herself. 

Her son (16yo) has quit school and doesn't work. "Boys are harder to raise than girls. They are lazy", she says

 

Wall in Li Caiping's courtyard.

Huangmen
Wang Huanguo, 77 years old
She has bound feet. She can't remember exactly when they started bandaging her feet but probably when she was around 4 years old. In those days, all the girls would get their feet bound. This practice stopped after the Liberation.
She used to walk long distances to go to temple fairs but now she is too old and never goes very far. She says it hurts too much. "All my feet bones are broken"
 "but my grandmother's feet were even smaller!" she adds.

Her eldest grand-son paid for the renovation of her house which she keeps neatly clean.

Wang Huanguo needs a stick to walk with her bound feet.

Shanmen
Jin Fener, (63) with her grand-granddaughter Ma Xiyang, (12).
Xiyang's father is mentally ill and recently cracked his skull open in a bad fall. He has been bedridden for a month. She has to look after both of them with barely any income. Her husband was away spraying pesticides in their fields, half an hour away from the village. They also produce a bit of honey (30 yuan / jin)
 

In Jin Fener's courtyard.

Jinshan
From left to right : Wang Yandi (16) Wang Lei (5) Wang Yanxia (21)
 Lei's mother is working over a thousand kilometers away in a supermarket in Xinjiang where the wages are higher. Yandi & Yanxia, two sisters, are taking care of their little nephew. They are on their own as their parents have passed away.

On the wall of the Wangs'home.

The courtyard of the Wang family.

72 years old Chen Guiqin, with her 73 years old husband Liu Yanggao. They have two daughters and two grand daughters.

 

 

The ancestors altar in the home of Chen Guiqin and Liu Yanggao. The calligraphy is a quote from former Communist Party Secretary Zhang Zemin.

70 years old Peng Jinjin,  all smile with his newly born grand daughter Xiyuan laying on the kang next to him. 
All is not happiness in Peng's life, though. His son committed suicide after his wife left him, leaving Peng in charge of another grand daughter.
Sitting on the left is Peng's brother, 76 years old Xusheng, who never got married. 

On the wall of Peng's home.

Peng Yongjie, 38 yo, with his wife 30 years old Di Jinfang and their 40 days old daughter.

Peng And Di have been trying to have a baby since they got married 8 years ago. They have sought help from local private clinics with no success and at mounting costs. Eventually  they went to the county hospital who quoted them with 20,000RMB (US$ 3,200) for artificial insemination. At the time Peng and Di only had 3,000 RMB in savings. For four years Peng and Di saved money to eventually be able to pay for the operation last year. The first attempt was successful. They now want to have another baby, a boy. The poster on the wall was put up 7 years ago.

Peng is a construction worker and makes about 100 CNY (16US$) a day. The picture was taken the day before Peng's departure for work after the Chinese New Year break. 

 

 

74 years old Wang Juju
 

 

A comforter on Wang Juju's kang.

65 years old, Niu Wenxuan, 
Besides farming, Niu has a passion for calligraphy and he occasionally does restauration of old scrolls. The scrolls hanging above his kang date back from the Qing Dynasty.

 

 

Couch in the home of Niu Wenxuan.

22 years old Niu Taotao.
Niu left her village at 17 to work in Beijing, after 3 years there she came back to her village to take care of her younger brother (their parents have died).
She has a boyfriend who she was introduced to through a relative. He is is from the same county but works hundreds of kilometers away in a factory in Beijing. They only met twice and talk regularly via the internet. She is unsure about this relation and does not plan to get married before her younger brother goes to college. 

She enjoys more the life in the village which finds more comfortable and safer than Beijing. She is taking care of the small family apple orchard and enjoys watching tv during her free time. 

The living space across from the Kang in Niu's home.

12 years old He Tiantian on the kang she shares with her aunt who is raising her. Her mother died in an accident when she was 5 and her father has not been heard of after he left the village to find some work the same year.  She wants to be a dancer.
 

 

73 years old An Shoujia.
An is a strong believer in Buddha and thinks he is helping her with her ailments (back pain).  
Her 77 yo husband was working in the fields when this picture was taken.

 

On the wall above An's kang.

Huanghui new village

65 years old Zheng Julian on her broken kang. 8 years ago Zheng and her family had to leave their village 50 kilometers away officially because of desertification. She complains that the land they were given is no better than the one they left and says the houses built by the government for the relocated farmers are poorly built.

"When I had to leave, I cried so much I thought I would become blind."

On her wall, the school diplomas and awards of her grandson as well as a 4 years old calendar featuring a picture of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao visiting her region, during which he made a pledge to fight desertification.

The door to Zheng's room. 

Dashi village

90 years old, Li Shutao
Li has 20 grandchildren, most of them migrant workers but they keep foot in the village.
In his youth Li was a farm worker travelling on train rooftops following the harvest season from county to county, all the way to the neighbouring province of Shaanxi. This is as far as he has ever travelled.

During the great hunger of the 60s he urged his sons to leave the village and go and beg for food in Shaanxi. He told them to pretend to be mute so they could more easily get on trains.

 

On the wall of Li Shutao's home

Jinshan Village
Jiang Shuanwa (62) with her husband  Yo Mingyi (64)
At the age of 17, relatives introduced Jiang to a local young man she was supposed to marry. Jiang felt otherwise and wasn't so keen on the chosen one, so when her path crossed that of Yo on a village road, she decided he was a better fit and married him.
Jiang and Yo are taking care of their grand daughter who is going to middle school and it's a heavy burden on this household with little income. 
School is free but they have to pay for food, books, uniform which amounts to 2000 RMB (320 USD) a year. 
Soon they will have to rent a room in the city so that she can go to high school which will add another 2000 RMB. They can't afford it. 

 

The wall at the entrance of Jang and yo's home.

Huangmen
Zhang Guizi (71)
In his home, Zhang has a huge poster of Mao. Even though he complains about the destruction of the local Taoist Temple during the cultural revolution, he worships Mao who he says got his family out of pverty. Before the revolution they were living in a cave with no land of their own. They had to rent half a mu from the temple to be able to farm and had to give back  a share of their crops in return.
After the Liberation, they were given two mu and a cow but it wasn't until the Cultural Revolution that they didn't have to share their crops with the temple.
In the 80's a fake Taoist monk came to live in the temple and was living off the locals credulity. He died 4 years ago and now the Temple has just been renovated with financial contribution from all villagers. Zhang says it's not anywhere as beautiful as it was before, with poorly made statues and drawings but he is still happy to see it alive again.    

The coal burning stove next to Zhang's kang.

The kang is a 2 meters wide platform found in most traditional homes of the Northern half of China. The platform is heated underneath by wood or coal fire and often connects with the kitchen stove so that the fire heats up both places.  The kang serves as a bed for the whole family but more than this, it is also a living place where family members spend hours chatting or playing especially in the winter months when there is little work to be done in the fields. The wall above the kang is the most personally decorated place in the home (the wall facing the entrance is dedicated to ancestors, calligraphy, gods including Mao).

This series mainly shot in Gansu province is a record of China’s traditional rural lifestyle as peasants are forced to move out of their old homes into new ones, soulless rows of concrete buildings. 

Liu Lucheng, 84 yo, with his wife Yang Fanxiu, 83.
They don't have energy any more to take care of their field. Their only son died in 2008.

 

Yang Fanxiu spends her days making straw hats.

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