On the Road in China: Struggle at Desert's Edge

Life Difficult in Areas Where Development Hasn't Arrived

Wang Bin, his mother and niece outside their home on Route 312 in central China. Rob Gifford, NPR hide caption

ยป SEE A MAP OF GIFFORD'S JOURNEY, MORE ON THE SERIES
itoggle caption Rob Gifford, NPR

A small town on the edge of the Gobi Desert symbolizes the problems faced by rural China. The mother of a 21-year-old unemployed man wishes he would marry, but it's impossible to find a wife because China's one-child policy results in a shortage of women.

Farther down Route 312, an arid village suffers a water shortage caused when corrupt local officials seized control of the supply. Asked what he can do about it, a resident is resigned to answer: "endure."

In the fourth of seven reports on his 3,000-mile journey across China, NPR's Rob Gifford tells stories of hard life in China's countryside.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.