The Guardian

From shacks to des res: one village’s great leap in China’s march to the future

Running water, L-shaped sofas and flatscreen TVs are gracing new homes for some of the beneficiaries of Xi Jinping’s war on poverty
Xiao Ziluo, a 50-year-old resident of Padangshang in China, in the new home given to him by Xi Jinping’s government, including this poster of the president. Photograph: Tom Phillips for the Observer

Xiao Ercha lives in a tumbledown shanty beside a pigsty, thousands of miles and a world away from the awe-inspiring skyscrapers of Beijing and Shanghai.

Tatty mosquito nets hang from the bamboo poles propping up the shack’s cracked asbestos roof; kittens and chickens scuttle across its earthen floor. Xiao, 57, shakes his head when asked to name the leader of his nation, the second largest economy on earth.

“Xi Jinping who?” says Xiao. “I recognise his face from the television – but I don’t know his name.” That is about to change. Xiao, who was born and raised in this mountaintop hamlet near China’s southwestern borders with Myanmar and Laos, is one of millions of impoverished Chinese citizens being relocated as part of the government’s ambitious and politically-charged push to eradicate extreme poverty in the world’s most populous

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