“We eat somehow, but it’s never enough,” Ms. Li said. “At least we’re not starving.”In this region of southern Henan Province, in village after village, people are too poor to heat their homes in the winter and many lack basic comforts like running water. Mobile phones, a near ubiquitous symbol of upward mobility throughout much of this country, are seen as an impossible luxury.
People here often begin conversations with a phrase that is still not uncommon in today’s China: “We are poor.”
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