The Empty Stools of Rural Village Life in China

Tian Yunxiu, 67, and his 65-year-old wife named Liu Dezhen, sit beside a buckwheat field in Mawan town of Northwest China’s Shaanxi province with six stools for their six children, who left the village to work. In the process of urbanization, more rural people in China leave villages to work in cities with most working as migrant workers. The statistics of National Bureau of Statistics shows that China already had a total of 230 million migrant workers in 2009. As it is not easy to take families to settle down in cities, the migrant workers from rural areas have to leave their kids, wives and parents in their rural home, which makes the population of some rural areas mainly made up of women, kids and elderly people. A survey conducted by China Agriculture University shows that there are about 87 million people left behind in rural area, comprised of 20 million kids, 20 million elderly people and 47 million women. (Xinhua)

Wang Guixian, 61, and his wife Zhang Shumei, with four stools reserved for their four children who left home to work, sit in front of their home in a village of Mawan county, Jingbian county, Northwest China’s Shaanxi province, August 24, 2011. (Xinhua)

Liu Shuzhen, 87, whose husband passed away, sits, with two chairs reserved for her husband and her son who left home to work, in a paddyfield in a village of Bailiu town, Xunyang county, Northwest China’s Shaanxi province, August 30, 2011. (Xinhua)

Di Jinsheng, 65, and his wife Ju Yulan, sit in front of their cave-house with six stools reserved for their six children in Dijiahe village, Baishui county, Northwest China’a Shaanxi province, August 26, 2011. Some of their children left the village to work and some married away from their home village. (Xinhua)

Cheng Xiaolin and his two kids sits, with a seat chair reserved for his wife who left home to work, in a vegetable field in a village of Shuanglong town, Ankang city, Northwest China’s Shaanxi province, August 28, 2011. (Xinhua)

Xuan Peizhong, 67, his wife and his grandson, with more than ten stools reserved for the other family members who left village to work or study, sit in the home yard in Tuiziliang twon, Dingbian county, Northwest China’s Shaanxi province, August 23, 2011. (Xinhua)

Chen Songying, with four chairs reserved for her husband and three children who left home to work, sits in her farmland in front of her home in a village of Shizhuan town, Shikang city, Northwest China’s Shaanxi province, August, 29, 2011. (Xinhua)

Jiao Shuancheng, 66, with three chairs reserved for his three children who left home to work, sits on the bank in Lingao town, Baishui county, Northwest China’s Shaanxi province, August 27, 2011. (Xinhua)

Wu Huiqin and her little son, with a chair reserved for her husband who left home to work, sits in front of her home in Shiping village, Xunyang county, Northwest China’s Shaanxi province, August 30, 2011. (Xinhua)

He Ailiang, 68, sits on a top of mountain near his home in Liujiezhuang village, Jingbian county, Northwest China’s Shaanxi province with four stools reserved for his wife and three children who left home to work. His wife has passed away. August 25, 2011. (Xinhua)

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