China is developing and urbanizing faster than any population in history. A small percentage prosper beyond imagination, and others are left penniless, caught between the government’s authoritarianism, the ruling class’ hedonism, and the economy’s overall optimism. These stories are well known, but do not address the circumstance of the majority of the population.
The pictures here, part of a larger book project, describe the middle situations, which are extraordinary precisely because they are so ordinary. The people in these pictures do not make headlines, but they are important. They are the ones buying the goods produced by China’s captains of industry, and they are the ones who can push for the government to assist those most needy. They will be the future of China.