posted on February 22nd 2015 in with 0 Comments

Beijing/RatTribe/2014/pictures by Sim Chi Yin / VII / story by Ian Johnson / Guo Xiaolong, 40, manager of a basement in east Beijing, from Heilongjiang in northeast China. / / Guo Xiaolong: King of the Rats Guo Xiaolong has traveled China working at a sequence of not-too-salubrious nightclubs and KTV parlors. Now 40 years old, he’s manager of a basement near Shilipo on Line 6. Under his ward are 72 rooms and about 100 inhabitants. His dream, though, had been to become an athlete or at least a physical education teacher. That never worked out but he still wears Adidas sports clothes. Now, he cleans the public areas, such as the toilets, he repairs locks and doors and cables. He spends much of the time in a little room near the entrance, monitoring four closed-circuit television sets–a requirement by authorities to discourage thieves. Guo is a man of few words, but he keeps a tight ship and the basement is one of Beijing’s friendliest. Since his parents died four years ago, he has no permanent home, except the basement. “Once one’s mother is no longer around, one has no home. But if basement people are ìratsî, then I am the king of the rats!î

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