inside thoughts on China and beyond

Portfolio – Emperors of the Middle Kingdom

Earlier this week, a family planning official in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, ran over and killed a 13 month old ‘illegal’ baby with his car during a dispute with the child’s parents,according to the People’s Daily. Especially in rural areas, forced abortion is still comon practice. Parents are economically punished when they break the one-child-policy law. Government workers loose their job over it.

Because the policy has lead to a dramatic surplus of males and a problematic shortage of future workforce, most of whom, to make it worse, are overly spoiled xiao shihuangdi (=little emperors), the government appears to be in a tediously slow process of change. The many permitted publications in official Chinese news media is a confirmation of this. But, for once, they may have acted too slow.

According to a recent poll, most Chinese people do actually support the one child policy (although they do not support forced abortions). Not only do they think China already too overpopulated  -a fact that is hard to deny-, more often than not, they find a second child financially too burdensome. Even if the one-child-policy were to be abolished tomorrow, it woud do little to change the demographic imbalance for this, or even the next generation.

Is China’s young generation a spoiled generation? Is every child a xiao shihuangdi?  I have not seem it. Have a look for yourself.

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Kashgar, Xinjiang

In a Kashgar courtyard, an Uighur child is sleeping safe and sound, part of China’s future generation. Kashgar, Xinjiang

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A ‘xiao ShiHuangdi’? Chengdu, Sichuan

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Children are one third of our population and all of our future.  ~Select Panel for the Promotion of Child Health, 1981

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A girl waiting for her father. Chengdu, Sichuan

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Child with instrument. After school time is for most city children more bussy than school itself. If not extra tutoring for music, then it is tennis, or English, or you name it; but whatever these children have, free time -playtime- is surely not part of it. Chengdu, Sichuan

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Make way! Make way for the little emperor!   Sichuan, China

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Daddy’s flown ‘cross the ocean

Leaving just a memory

A snapshot in the family album

Daddy what else did you leave for me?

Daddy, what’d you leave behind for me?

All in all it was just a brick in the wall

All in all it was all just bricks in the wall

(Pink Floyd; Another Brick In The Wall)

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A girl infront of her parents’ farmhouse.  South Guizhou

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Boy in the market.   South Yunnan, China

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If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.  ~Albert Einstein

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Girl going home.  Kashgar, Xinjiang

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South-East Guizhou

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Two children, but one is mum; and working hard each day. South-West Guizhou

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Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.  ~Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

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Nomadic Tibetan child with his mother. South Gansu

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UIghur children and their mum leaving their home, soon to be demolished. Kashgar, Xinjiang

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Late at night after the Chunjie celebration, the child has to accompany father to collect the firework boxes for resale. Chengdu, Sichuan

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A girl working on her homework. South-East Sichuan

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School kids taking the public bus.   Sanya, Hainan

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Child and family lost everything, here shortly after the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake. Mianyang, Sichuan

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Children sweeten labours, but they make misfortunes more bitter. ~ Francis Bacon

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Child at home in the mountains with his mum, because school is too far too walk. Xichang, Sichuan

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Truly: is this a ‘Little Emperor’ or a ‘Little David’? South-West Xinjiang

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Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. ~ Proverbs 22:6

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A school girl of the Yi minority in south Sichuan, looking through a broken school window. Will it be her ‘window of opportunity’?   South Sichuan

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Alas, let’s end with these words of Jean-Jacques Rousseau: You are worried about seeing him spend his early years in doing nothing.  What!  Is it nothing to be happy?  Nothing to skip, play, and run around all day long?  Never in his life will he be so busy again.  ~ in Emile, 1762

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More photo impressions on this topic can be viewed on my photo site.

13 responses

  1. Pingback: Portfolio – Emperors of the Middle Kingdom « Dutchinaman's Blog

  2. Boy in the Market is a fantastic shot!

    February 7, 2013 at 2:46 pm

  3. Thoughtful collection of terrific shots 🙂

    February 7, 2013 at 4:32 pm

  4. the puddle jumper and girl doing homework amongst such colour and my absolute favourites.

    February 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm

  5. A great series. Very nice pictures. Interesting.

    February 7, 2013 at 6:23 pm

  6. Oh to see the China that you see. These pictures are sublime, and the accompanying quotes perfect. Thanks for sharing. Was the little girl in the “Make way for the little emperor!” photo not a foreigner? She almost looked it. But, somehow, I think not.

    February 9, 2013 at 3:15 am

    • Thanks for your comment Jessica. But no, that little girl on the wheelbarrow surely is Chinese -and her mum is pushing her. Wealthier Chengdu tourist visiting Jiezi tourist town.

      February 9, 2013 at 1:20 pm

  7. wow. these photos are poignant and thought provoking. there are clearly hundreds of stories waiting to be told through these photos. the sense of loss after losing your home in an earthquake, life in a nomadic tribe, lack of access to closer schools…. thanks for sharing these with us readers.

    April 1, 2013 at 7:15 am

    • Yes, Soapie, these are often stories of hardship, but -thank God- never without hope.

      April 8, 2013 at 6:58 am

  8. Amazing photography!

    April 8, 2013 at 1:01 am

  9. Beautiful beautiful shots!

    June 11, 2013 at 4:17 pm

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