Aching hopelessness: Nobody was there to help a young man falling through the cracks of Chinese society
When Mocha, an obscure 22-year-old video game streamer, died, his cause of death was said to be diabetes. But one close friend who knew him suspected a different reason for the young man’s passing: extreme poverty.  An obituary published by his friend paints a vivid portrait of a man who descended into extreme poverty, and it has laid bare class struggles that are a defining characteristic of life in China.  Mocha, surnamed Chen, died of diabetic complications sometime in early January, his friend wrote in the online obituary published last Thursday.  Last year, he was diagnosed with sarcoma (a form of cancer) on his nose. He also had diabetes and liver problems. The nose tumor was treated,
Live in a poor area? Don't smoke or you're more likely to be poor yourself
Families with smokers from poor parts of China are 10% more likely to live in poverty than people from the same region who don’t smoke.  A recent study by a Beijing-based research team found over 23% of families with at least one smoker were found be to be poverty-stricken, compared with just over 13% of those without. The survey analyzed more than 2,400 households in eight less-developed provinces in China. Overall, the tobacco use rate in poor areas is higher than the national average, according to the research released last Thursday conducted by a team from Beijing Normal University’s School of Social Development and Public Policy.  More than 34% of the population in poor areas smoke, co
This Chinese town is selling a 20-year property lease for US$1,000
A rural town in northeast China has a unique strategy to jumpstart its economy: offer ridiculously low rent to city elites who crave a country getaway.  The Dashuibo local government hopes it can attract talent and money to the area by incentivizing city dwellers to become part-time residents and help raise the economic tide to lift all people.  The rental deals to kickstart this plan are absurdly cheap. For about US$1,000, a person can rent a farmhouse with a backyard for 20 years in the town of about 35,000 residents located in the eastern province of Shandong.  However, the deal does come with some commitments from the prospective tenant. They must spend at least US$30,000 to renovate the
Menstruation is holding back girls in parts of China. These teens try to help
When the fundraising campaign started last week, 17-year-old high school student Joyce Peng thought the target might have been too ambitious. The plan was to raise 90,000 yuan ($13,100) for sanitary products for girls in a remote, mountainous part of southwest China. Joyce and her friends, part of a feminist club called Stand TogetHer in Chengdu, Sichuan province, launched the online charity campaign. Their doubts were quickly erased. In just over a day, the group raised just under 125,000 yuan ($18,240) to help 700 impoverished girls at a primary school in Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture, one of the poorest parts of the country, access sanitary products. “I’m very excited and so happy,”
Surviving the coronavirus in a Hong Kong cage home
During the Lunar New Year, Hong Kong resident Guo Yongfeng returned to the Chinese mainland to visit his hometown of Harbin, the capital of the northeastern province of Heilongjiang. But the outbreak of Covid-19 on the mainland meant that he was required to spend 14 days in self-quarantine upon his return to Hong Kong. But Guo lives in a cubicle in a subdivided housing unit known as a “cage home,” and found it impossible to completely isolate himself until he managed to get a bed in a government quarantine facility.
China’s poor are hit twice in coronavirus outbreak
The economic disruption caused by the Covid-19 outbreak is taking its toll on China’s poorest people as experts and the country’s leaders warned it could undermine its poverty reduction drive. The disease has killed more than 2,000 people and seen many parts of the country go into lockdown, damaging both rural and urban economies and pushing some of those affected back into poverty. Five years ago President Xi Jinping of China promised to eradicate absolute poverty in the country and build what he called a “comprehensive well-off society” by 2020. At the end of last year, 5.5 million people in rural areas remained in poverty – down from 99 million in 2012, according to the National Bureau o
Chinese student who died of malnutrition never received bulk of donations
A Chinese charity has come under fire after it admitted that a large amount of money donated by the public did not reach a poverty-stricken college student suffering from complications due to malnutrition. She eventually died. The case of Wu Huayan, 24, who became ill because she had been subsisting on only rice and pickled-peppers for years, highlighted the challenges that China faces in its drive to eradicate poverty by 2020, which is a major policy goal for the Communist Party.  China has managed to successfully pull a large portion of its population out of poverty since it began market reforms in the late 1970s. However, the country now has one of the most unequal economies in the world,
China province, population 80 million, says only 17 people live in poverty
A Chinese province of 80 million people has claimed that only 17 residents, from six families, remain in poverty, sparking intense debate about the veracity of official anti-poverty statistics. The coastal province of Jiangsu is the first to declare a near elimination of absolute poverty – which is defined in China as per capita net income of 2,300 yuan ($331) in 2011 prices – as part of President Xi Jinping’s drive to wipe it out and build China into a comprehensive well-off society by 2020. China has yet to publish official statistics for all of 2019, but the government has said the number of people in poverty was cut to 16.6 million at the end of 2018 and an additional 10 million were lif
To fight the war on poverty, China seeks help from online influencers
In 2015, the Chinese government began what a senior official called an “extremely difficult” mission: to eradicate poverty in five years, including by using unconventional means. As the 2020 deadline looms, grinding poverty still exists in China. One Chinese province is certainly using an unorthodox way to help fix the problem.  The southern province of Hunan, ranked the eighth poorest in the country, has tapped into the growing popularity of live streams – and the influencers behind them – to meet ambitious poverty alleviation goals.  Enter Ah Juan, 36, whose real name is He Yujuan. She has doe eyes, porcelain skin and 1.9 million followers on Douyin, the Chinese version of short video app
‘City of Darkness’: A tour of the world’s most famous walled neighborhood
“City of Darkness” is an exhibition exploring the long gone Walled City of Kowloon in Hong Kong as photographed by Greg Girard and Ian Lambot. Lambot and Girard set about photographing the Walled City shortly before its demolition in 1994 due to a deep fascination with the site. Nearly 30 years on from the Walled City’s demolition, this project offers a unique insight into the remarkable community, home to an estimated 50,000 people at its peak, and by far the most densely populated neighborhood the world had ever known.