Writing her way out of Poverty: Part 2 of 2

July 29, 2015

A few days after Ma Yan heard that her family could not afford to continue her education past fifth grade, Pierre Haski, the French journalist, visited her village.  After seeing the diaries, Haski promised that he would help her continue school then go to a university or even further than that.

Needless to say, after the publication of her diaries, Ma Yan continued on to middle school along with lots of attention from the media.

Ma Yan says that most of the media asked her about her experience at school, and she wanted to tell them what it was like so the world would hear of the other poor children that wanted to go to school longer.

Because of that media attention, the students at her elementary and middle schools received offers of help.

That outpouring of interest led to the founding of Children of Ningxia, but it closed its doors in 2013. Details about funding for this project may be found at Global Giving. Global Giving reports that they have helped 245 young people from Ningxia through this program and 34 already graduated.

China’s government also abolished school fees through ninth grade but many remote, rural families still struggle to pay for boarding fees.

As the Al Jazeera segment of Ma Yan’s Story ends, I thought of the billion people living in poverty around the world. Less than 10% of those people live in China and this story is only of a few of those people.

In fact, child poverty in the United States is among the worst in the developed world, and many American children who live in poverty also can’t afford to go to college. More than 15 million children in the US—22% of all children—live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level. – NCCP

As for China, a survey conducted by Peking University and Beijing Normal University on young people in 18 counties in 2010 revealed that 4.9 percent of the respondents live in poverty. China has a population of 309 million under the age of 18, of which 60 percent live in rural areas. The survey findings suggest there are an estimated 9 million children living in poverty in rural China. – SOS Children’s Villages Canada

Curious to know what happened to Ma Yan all these years later, and what she was doing with her life, I used Google search but found nothing. I then found Pierre Haski’s Facebook page and left a question asking if he knew what had happened to Ma Yan in France. Last time I checked, I couldn’t find my question, and Haski has not replied.

Return to or start with Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline

The China-India Comparison with Lots of Facts – Part 1/5

December 31, 2011

This post was originally a result of a comment on the China Law Blog, which chastised me because, “He wanted me to provide a super-quick summary of The Economist cover story comparing India with China, but it (I) did not,” which was correct then.

Returning to this subject is because of my twelve-part debate with Troy Parfitt. Mr. Parfitt claimed, “Corruption in India isn’t germane to the debate.” In fact, most if not all of the facts and comparisons used during the debate were not relevant according to Mr. Parfitt unless those facts supported his opinions of China.

At one point, Mr. Parfitt mentioned reviews of his book in Publisher’s Weekly in defense of his book not being racisit. He claimed the South China Morning Post didn’t say that. Neither did Publishers Weekly, the Korean Herald, The Vancouver Sun… and none of the Amazon reviewers [that may change].

However, Publisher’s Weekly [PW] did say this of his book, “The result is mostly travelogue told from an outsider’s perspective, contextualized with overviews of major events in Chinese history. Parfitt argues that China will not rule the world, because as a nation it is more interested in the appearance of success than actual substance. He suggests that culturally, China has little to offer…” In addition, PW says, “his book lacks the precise facts and figures that he decries in other books promoting Chinese dominance.”

Basically, this is what the China Law Blog complained of in my post, Comparing India and China’s Economic Engines.

The facts and figures missing from Mr. Parfitt’s “Why China Will Never Rule the World – Travels in the Two Chinas” are important as the China Law Blog says. To judge one country without comparing its government, economy and culture to other countries offers no balance for readers to make informed decisions.

Continued on January 1, 2012 in he China-India Comparison with Lots of Facts – Part 2


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Subscribe to “iLook China”
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page.

About iLook China

Note: This revised and edited post first appeared on October 22, 2010 as India Falling Short

Boiled in Blood

March 28, 2011

While brutal and corrupt authoritarian dictators in Egypt and Tunisia (supported by Western democracies for decades) were swept away by popular uprisings and a bloody revolution raged in Libya’s Qaddafi land, the Western media made comparisons to China.

The Economist’s Banyan|The wind that will not subside says, “But it is in China that domestic parallels with recent events, above all in Cairo, are on most people’s minds.”

What parallels and which minds?

According to a recent 60 Minutes segment, the uprisings in North Africa were caused by widespread corruption, poverty and unemployment (fallout from the 2008 global financial crises, which caused global losses of about 64 trillion US dollars and millions of lost jobs — 9 million in the US and about 20 million in China — not counting the rest of the world).

When the dictators in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya attempted to stifle unrest with violence, citizens posted pictures on Facebook of the killings and brutality, which led to the revolutions.

There is no guarantee that these revolutions will result in successful Western style democracies.

Another parallel that fails to surface is Facebook. The Wall Street Journal says, “Facebook…doesn’t have operations in Mainland China.”

As for poverty, The World Bank says, “Between 1981 and 2001, the proportion of population living in poverty in China fell from 53 percent to just eight percent,” and Global Issues.org says, “China accounts for nearly all the world’s reduction in poverty.”

Meanwhile, World Hunger.org reports American, “Households with incomes below the poverty line (19.2 percent).”

In addition, to paint China with the same brush as Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, the Economist attempted to rewrite the definition of dictatorship: “China is a dictatorship of a party, not an individual”.

No Wonder the GOP wants to cut funding for  PBS – the truth hurts!

That “party” has more than seventy million members and decisions are based on consensus. The last dictators that ruled mainland China (Mao) and Taiwan (Chiang Kai-shek, who was supported by the US) both died in 1976.

When the United States won the revolution against the British Empire in the 18th century, only 10% of the colonial population was allowed to vote (white men with money and/or property).  

Does that mean the early US was a dictatorship?

The Economist also quoted an editorial on the Caixin Website, saying “Autocracy manufactures turbulence; democracy brews peace.”


If the Caixin Website were correct that “democracy brews peace”, explain the Guardian’s report of India’s hidden war. Entire villages have been emptied as tribal communities flee from the burnings, lootings and killings. The civil conflict has left more than 50,000 people camping under tarpaulin sheets without work or food along the roadsides of southern Chhattisgarh.”

India is the world’s largest democracy, but India has fought border wars with China, Nepal and Pakistan.

In addition, while China reduced poverty dramatically, India has done almost nothing for more than six decades.  According to Azad India Foundation, nearly 38% of India’s population (almost 400 million) lives in poverty.

If “democracy brews peace”, it must be boiled in blood, which is evidence that America’s Founding Fathers were right about democracies being ruled by mobs.

Discover Border Crossings and the Blood on Our Hands


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

China Moving – Part 2/2

January 5, 2011

 To maintain perspective, I will start this segment about poverty in China by citing the CIA World Factbook. The CIA report says that only 2.8% of China’s population lives in “absolute poverty”, while reporting that 12% live in poverty in the US.

India’s listing says 25% live in poverty. The poverty percentage for the United Kingdom (Britain) was fourteen. Zambia, the highest poverty rate I saw was at 86%.

The CIA says, “National estimates of the percentage of the population falling below the poverty line are based on surveys of sub-groups, with the results weighted by the number of people in each group. Definitions of poverty vary considerably among nations. For example, rich nations generally employ more generous standards of poverty than poor nations.

In fact, the 2010 Global Hunger Index says there were 925 million hungry people in the world. The index ranks countries on a 100-point scale, with zero being the best score (no hunger) and 100 being the worst.

China’s score was nine.

Al Jazeera’s Samah El-Shahat says, “The Chinese economic miracle dominates headlines around the world.… The economy there is predicted to grow at 8% up to 2010 and beyond, which is an incredible rate of development.”

To make this happen, people migrated to where the jobs are creating crowded cities and empty villages.

This segment starts out in Sichuan Province on a family farm where bringing in the crop falls to a young girl and her grandmother, Wei Shu Bin.

Wei Shu Bin says the young girl’s parents are away working in the city to earn money—”that is their way of taking care of me.”

In fact, the money sent home from the city has transformed the family’s life in the countryside. Before the parents went away, the family lived in a hut with a thatched roof reminiscent of the middle ages in Europe.

Today, they live in a larger house, but most of the village people are very old or very young because 80% have gone to work elsewhere.

Yang Xui Ying in the village market says, “We keep pigs and grow vegetables for sale in the market. We can support ourselves.”

The reason stated for so many leaving the villages to work in the cities is to provide a better future for their children so they can attend school. However, there is a downside to not having parents at home—the crime rate among rural Chinese teens has gone up.

To build a modern China with improved lifestyles requires sacrifice and hard work. It doesn’t come free.

Return to China Moving – Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.