Li Rui, 60, scavenged his former village for building materials in Liaocheng. photo by Justin Jin
Across China, bulldozers are leveling villages that date to long-ago dynasties. Towers now sprout skyward from dusty plains and verdant hillsides. New urban schools and hospitals offer modern services, but often at the expense of the torn-down temples and open-air theaters of the countryside.
“It’s a new world for us in the city,” said Tian Wei, 43, a former wheat farmer in the northern province of Hebei, who now works as a night watchman at a factory. “All my life I’ve worked with my hands in the fields; do I have the educational level to keep us with the city people?”
“For old people like us, there’s nothing to do anymore,” said He Shifang, 45, a farmer from the city of Ankang in Shaanxi Province who was relocated from her family’s farm in the mountains. “Up in the mountains we worked all the time. We had pigs and chickens. Here we just sit around and people play mah-jong.”
this is so major. government buying up farmland, upending village life and pushing consumerism.. soon china will have super industrial “farming” like in the US. and then later grassroots groups will try to convert urban land back into pocket parks and gardens like what’s happening now in the US.