We’re often presented with images of Beijing and Shanghai’s glittering skylines and are inundated with stories of economic success. We know that China has succeeded in bringing hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and that life in the countryside has never been better. But what does life actually look like in rural China for the nearly 700 million people that call it home? What kind of life does roughly $2.50 per day buy (this is the average rural income)?
Today I’ll be sharing some of the best photos from People’s Daily as well as from my own travels. These images would be familiar to most Chinese people.
In the countryside your school looks like this (more)
Your parents are most likely farmers (more)
Or work in some kind of small private business (more)
Visiting the clinic involves facing crowds like these (more)
You go shopping in a wet market
You watch traditional performances on holidays
Your friends don’t worry about the latest brands (yes, that is a pile of coal in the background)
And your way home looks something like this
The nearby town might look something like this
*Most of these photos are from Guangxi, and don’t represent the full diversity of the countryside, however the standard of living is fairly representative of “rural” life.
Wait a minute. This seems almost idyllic. Do we need regularly hear how terrible rural China is, with its poverty and hardship?
I suppose that “idyllic” would be a relative term.