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Lives of Loss

July 20, 2011

A Life for 85 Yuan. Pedestrian Underpass near “Petition Village,” Beijing, June 13, 2002. Photo by Du Bin.

Photographer’s Note: Hu Liming is a 53-year-old farmer from Shanwan Village, Yunyang County, Chongqing. His wife was driven to suicide from the shame of the family’s inability to pay 85 yuan in interest on a [government] poverty assistance loan. Hu brought his young sons to petition in Beijing barefoot. “I’ve told my grievances everywhere,” he said helplessly. “Why does no one care?”

Fan Yanqiong, One of “Fujian’s Three Netizens” Who Posted Comments on the Internet about the Gang Rape and Death of 25-Year-Old Yang Xiaoling. Fuzhou, Fujian Province, September 7, 2010. Photo by Han Xinglei.

Fan Yanqiong’s Note: I went for blood tests that day and was waiting for a friend to pick me up. I was very depressed. I have lost most of my hair. I was detained for 45 days in 2002 after I joined a protest against the Nanping Auto Parts Factory. The detention center released me immediately when I became paralyzed. I slowly regained my ability to walk. But my legs lost their former agility, and I have to stop after walking only a few steps. I fall down often, inexplicably, and am unable to carry things. About half a month after I was detained in 2009 because of the “Fujian’s Three Netizens” affair, I was no longer able to stand up.

Editors’ Note: In April 2010, Fan Yanqiong was one of three people in Fujian — “Fujian’s Three Netizens” — convicted of libel for uploading videos and posting comments on the Internet related to the case of Yan Xiaoling. Yan died at age 25 after what her mother believed to be gang rape by individuals with connections to the local police. Fan was released from prison in August 2010 on medical parole.

Begging. Chengdu, Sichuan Province, October 26, 2008. Photo by Zhang Daqian.

Photographer’s Note: Exploiting children for use as street beggars is common nationwide. Does this photo show a blind man and his son, or a pair of imposters? Most people find it difficult to tell. They look pitiful. But some reports say that beggars are better off than the average person. Since China’s online anti-trafficking campaign was launched, there seem to be fewer beggars on the streets. Where those people have gone is hard to say.