China's slowing economy: the view from the Henan heartland

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China's slowing economy: the view from the Henan heartland

Fishermen Sun Lianxi, 32, and Sun Genxi, 44, travel down the Yellow River to cast their net on the northern outskirts of Zhengzhou, Henan province, China, February 21, 2019. For generations, the Suns plied their fishing boats up and down the Huai and Yellow Rivers, living off their daily catch. Like their grandfather and father before them, brothers Sun Genxi, 44, and Sun Lianxi were born on a fishing boat. China's economic ascent has tantalised the brothers. 'These high-rise buildings have nothing to do with me. They're for others, not me,' Lianxi says. 'We don't have any part in it.' The Suns were owners of a large houseboat, enough to accommodate their clan of 17 spanning four generations under one weather-beaten roof. But as part of a broad-ranging environmental crackdown, local authorities in 2017 took over the houseboat in the name of minimising water pollution and over-fishing. The Suns now live in tents of tarpaulin and plastic sheets by a floating bridge on the banks of the Yellow River, reduced to fishing from a small dinghy. 'Who knows, my son one day can maybe become something,' Sun Lianxi said. 'But we have to break out of this cycle.' Reuters
Jiejie Li, wife of 32-year-old fisherman Sun Lianxi, prepares food on a wood stove in their makeshift dwelling at the Yellow River embankment of on the northern outskirts of Zhengzhou, Henan province, China, February 21, 2019. For generations, the Suns plied their fishing boats up and down the Huai and Yellow Rivers, living off their daily catch. Like their grandfather and father before them, brothers Sun Genxi, 44, and Sun Lianxi were born on a fishing boat. China's economic ascent has tantalised the brothers. Reuters
LED lights in the pavement illuminate the square in front of a high speed rail way station in the new business district of Zhengzhou, Henan province China, February 22, 2019. Reuters
People play with ice floating at a pond in the compound of an apartment complex in Zhengzhou, Henan province, China February 20, 2019. Reuters
A retired worker watches a Chinese opera performance that Xinyuan Steel put on to mark the end of Chinese New Year festivities in Anyang, Henan province, China February 19, 2019. Reuters
Locals wait for the start of a Chinese opera performance that Xinyuan Steel put on for locals and employees to mark the end of Chinese New Year festivities in Anyang, Henan province, China February 19, 2019. Reuters
Women buy steamed buns from a street vendor in the old town of Luoyang, Henan province, China January 21, 2019. Reuters
Women in graduation dresses take pictures in front of Buddha statues at the Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang, Henan province, China January 21, 2019. Reuters
A performer of a traveling Chinese opera troupe puts on his make-up before playing a show to locals and former employees of Xinyuan Steel in Anyang, Henan province, China February 19, 2019. Reuters
Men ride a scooter past a poster showing Chinese President Xi Jinping on the side of a school building in a newly developed part of Lankao County, Henan province, China February 22, 2019. Reuters
A worker watches a Chinese opera performance that Xinyuan Steel put on to mark the end of Chinese New Year festivities in Anyang, Henan province, China, February 19, 2019. Reuters
Locals and retired workers leave after a Chinese opera performance that Xinyuan Steel put on outside its factory to mark the end of Chinese New Year festivities in Anyang, Henan province, China February 19, 2019. Reuters
A deliveryman leans against a cart outside a wholesale market in central Zhengzhou, Henan province, China January 19, 2019. Reuters
People leave the high speed railway station on a hazy morning in Zhengzhou, Henan province, China February 21, 2019. Reuters
A woman and a child ride an electric tricycle in the old town of Luoyang, Henan province, China January 21, 2019. Reuters
A poster showing Chinese President Xi Jinping is seen in front of the Xinyuan Steel plant in Anyang, Henan province, China February 19, 2019. Reuters





Fishermen Sun Lianxi, 32, and Sun Genxi, 44, travel down the Yellow River to cast their net on the northern outskirts of Zhengzhou, Henan province, China, February 21, 2019. For generations, the Suns plied their fishing boats up and down the Huai and Yellow Rivers, living off their daily catch. Like their grandfather and father before them, brothers Sun Genxi, 44, and Sun Lianxi were born on a fishing boat. China's economic ascent has tantalised the brothers. 'These high-rise buildings have nothing to do with me. They're for others, not me,' Lianxi says. 'We don't have any part in it.' The Suns were owners of a large houseboat, enough to accommodate their clan of 17 spanning four generations under one weather-beaten roof. But as part of a broad-ranging environmental crackdown, local authorities in 2017 took over the houseboat in the name of minimising water pollution and over-fishing. The Suns now live in tents of tarpaulin and plastic sheets by a floating bridge on the banks of the Yellow River, reduced to fishing from a small dinghy. 'Who knows, my son one day can maybe become something,' Sun Lianxi said. 'But we have to break out of this cycle.' Reuters
Jiejie Li, wife of 32-year-old fisherman Sun Lianxi, prepares food on a wood stove in their makeshift dwelling at the Yellow River embankment of on the northern outskirts of Zhengzhou, Henan province, China, February 21, 2019. For generations, the Suns plied their fishing boats up and down the Huai and Yellow Rivers, living off their daily catch. Like their grandfather and father before them, brothers Sun Genxi, 44, and Sun Lianxi were born on a fishing boat. China's economic ascent has tantalised the brothers. Reuters
LED lights in the pavement illuminate the square in front of a high speed rail way station in the new business district of Zhengzhou, Henan province China, February 22, 2019. Reuters
People play with ice floating at a pond in the compound of an apartment complex in Zhengzhou, Henan province, China February 20, 2019. Reuters
A retired worker watches a Chinese opera performance that Xinyuan Steel put on to mark the end of Chinese New Year festivities in Anyang, Henan province, China February 19, 2019. Reuters
Locals wait for the start of a Chinese opera performance that Xinyuan Steel put on for locals and employees to mark the end of Chinese New Year festivities in Anyang, Henan province, China February 19, 2019. Reuters
Women buy steamed buns from a street vendor in the old town of Luoyang, Henan province, China January 21, 2019. Reuters
Women in graduation dresses take pictures in front of Buddha statues at the Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang, Henan province, China January 21, 2019. Reuters
A performer of a traveling Chinese opera troupe puts on his make-up before playing a show to locals and former employees of Xinyuan Steel in Anyang, Henan province, China February 19, 2019. Reuters
Men ride a scooter past a poster showing Chinese President Xi Jinping on the side of a school building in a newly developed part of Lankao County, Henan province, China February 22, 2019. Reuters
A worker watches a Chinese opera performance that Xinyuan Steel put on to mark the end of Chinese New Year festivities in Anyang, Henan province, China, February 19, 2019. Reuters
Locals and retired workers leave after a Chinese opera performance that Xinyuan Steel put on outside its factory to mark the end of Chinese New Year festivities in Anyang, Henan province, China February 19, 2019. Reuters
A deliveryman leans against a cart outside a wholesale market in central Zhengzhou, Henan province, China January 19, 2019. Reuters
People leave the high speed railway station on a hazy morning in Zhengzhou, Henan province, China February 21, 2019. Reuters
A woman and a child ride an electric tricycle in the old town of Luoyang, Henan province, China January 21, 2019. Reuters
A poster showing Chinese President Xi Jinping is seen in front of the Xinyuan Steel plant in Anyang, Henan province, China February 19, 2019. Reuters





Choi Won-suk wschoi@koreatimes.co.kr


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