At fourteen, Wang Ying doesn’t want to be a mother. But when not in school, she must take care of her younger brother and sister, do the chores and farmwork while also trying to keep up at school. The siblings are from the Yi ethnic group who live in mountainous Liangshan region in southwestern China. Their parents work in a factory over 1,000 miles away to earn money to give the children a better future.
The movement of economic migrants from the Chinese countryside to wealthier, urban areas has left around 9 million rural children like them alone or in the care of relatives. Evidence suggests such children are more likely to develop behavioural problems and drop out of school earlier than their peers. A documentary project follows the family in their two different worlds, and examines the dilemma faced by many rural parents who must choose between providing for their children economically or emotionally. It also highlights the challenges faced by some of China’s poorest and most marginalised people trying to keep apace with the country’s rapid development.
A longer version of this film was produced in collaboration with the Pulitzer Centre on Crisis Reporting and ChinaFile, a project of the Asia Society Centre on U.S.-China Relations.