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A Bleak Old Age

July 21, 2011

Living in Fear. Tianqiao District, Jinan, Shandong Province, February 8, 2011. Photo by Shuang Jian.

Photographer’s Note: An 88-year-old woman is currently facing forcible eviction. She is terrified by any strange visitor. Other houses near her home have been almost completely demolished. Her family is poor and cannot afford to relocate to a new home. The local authorities told them that demolition would begin after the Lunar New Year. That is why she refuses to allow any stranger to enter her home — she thinks that they may be the ones coming to tear down her house.

Grandmother Picks through Trash. Fogang County, Guangdong Province, May 5, 2009. Photo by Li Guohong.

Photographer’s Note: In May 2009, during the “Citizens’ Walk” that I initiated, I encountered an old woman along Highway 106 in Fogang County. She was picking up old paper and other items from this pile of trash and looked like she was going to sell them.

Editors’ Note: Li Guohong organized the “Citizens’ Walk” to encourage citizens to visit other provinces. The purpose was to promote greater understanding among people from different places, spread legal knowledge, raise rights awareness, and urge citizens to defend their own rights and law enforcers to abide by the law. Li, based in Chongqing, began his walk on May 4, 2010. On May 15, as he approached the Hunan border, he was picked up by Chongqing government personnel and was sent home.

Lonely Old Man. Jinan, Shandong Province, February 27, 2011. Photo by Shuang Jian.

Photographer’s Note: A lonely old man sits at the base of a stairwell despite the cold. His daughter — his only child — has married, leaving him by himself. His home is on the sixth and top floor, and it is difficult for him to go up and down the stairs in his frail condition. So he comes downstairs once a day and sits for several hours. Very pitiful!