mark esplin


Hidden behind the billboards and restaurants of Changchunjie district Beijing, lay the remnants of a Hutong.   Despite the demolition, some structures remain, and continue to provide housing for a small community of laborers and their families. The juxtaposition of high-rise department stores and apartments that overlook this small plot of land highlight the duality of Modern China.  Those that have reaped the benefits of Chinas newly accomplished modernity, and those that still live in poverty.


One builder proclaims, “We have a hard life, but it is the real life that we live.”


The walls of his modest home are lined with the aspiration of a better life – numbers from the State run ‘Welfare Lottery’.  This national lottery is hugely popular in China.  Each ticket costs two Yuan and has the potential to reward as much as 15 Million Yuan should the beholder manage to match the six numbers.  According to the Finance Ministry, lottery sales accumulated 138 Billion Yuan within the first eight months of 2011.  An Increase of 33.4 % from last year.  With such a huge consumption of this false hope of wealth it would appear not all those who contribute to China’s prosperity get the financial benefit they deserve.