A love that isn’t in­flu­enced by money

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA -

Apower out­age oc­curred while I was in­ter­view­ing Liao Yanfei, head of Jin­sha vil­lage, in the small room where he stores cured meat.

With­out a fuss, Liao’s wife, Wang Yin­hua, found two can­dles so the cou­ple’s young twins could con­tinue with their home­work. To my sur­prise, the 9-yearolds, a boy and a girl, didn’t make a sound; in­stead they car­ried on writ­ing qui­etly, ex­cept for one oc­ca­sion when they asked me if I would like a snack. Mean­while, Wang showed me pho­tos of the fam­ily she has stored in her mo­bile phone, say­ing she looks at them ev­ery now and then: “I like re­view­ing the time we (she and Liao) got to­gether, al­though some­times things were tough.” When he was a child, Liao’s fam­ily was the poor­est in Jin­sha in the Xiangxi Tu­jia and Miao au­tonomous pre­fec­ture, Hu­nan prov­ince, and power cuts were a reg­u­lar oc­cur­rence. “But poverty didn’t stop us pur­su­ing our own hap­pi­ness,” he said.

I was im­pressed by the warmth of the cou­ple’s small talk as we sat and waited for the elec­tric­ity to re­turn. In the small, dimly lit room, I for­got how cold it was — the tem­per­a­ture started fall­ing rapidly in the prov­ince at the end of last month — and I be­gan to un­der­stand that some­times mak­ing a bet­ter life isn’t re­lated to peo­ple’s eco­nomic sit­u­a­tions.

Liao’s chil­dren are lucky. “When I gave birth to them, I was de­ter­mined to find work at home be­cause I didn’t want them to be ‘left­be­hind kids’,” Wang said. “Noth­ing is more im­por­tant than a fam­ily be­ing united.”

I rarely think about poverty when I’m work­ing on my usual beat in Bei­jing — re­port­ing about poli­cies and le­gal mat­ters.

How­ever, my meet­ings with the res­i­dents of Jin­sha helped me to re­al­ize that some peo­ple still live in harsh en­vi­ron­ments that the coun­try needs to erad­i­cate and jour­nal­ists need to cover.

At the same time, I felt a type of love that isn’t in­flu­enced by fi­nances, and that power can also lift fam­i­lies out of poverty.

Cao Yin

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