fredag 8. februar 2019

Isolated and abandoned: the heartbreaking reality of old age in rural China

For Qin Taixiao, old age is a time of loneliness and back-breaking labor. Every day in winter, the ailing 68-year-old wakes early, collects 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of firewood from the nearby forest, and hauls it home on his back. He does it again in the afternoon. Burning wood instead of coal is a cheaper way to stave off the freezing temperatures of the northern Chinese winter.

Qin and his wife, Sun Sherong, have spent the past year almost entirely alone. They live in an isolated and largely abandoned village about 240 kilometers (150 miles) from Beijing. Between his trips to the forest, Qin manages his emphysema and colon cancer with the meager amounts of drugs he can afford.

"What can I say?" he says. "Life's all right. There is no other way."