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posted on February 22nd 2015 in with 0 Comments

Beijing/RatTribe/2014/pictures by Sim Chi Yin / VII / story by Ian Johnson/ Liu Hao, 24, budding writer, poet, learning photography and make-up, from Henan. / / Liu Hao: A Hollowed-Out City Above Liu Hao is a middle-class apartment complex, where residents go to Starbucks for coffee and shop at Japanese department stores like Muji. Behind it is a small shelter with a door. Open it and you walk down to the world of Liu Hao, a budding writer, poet, photographer and filmmaker. Now 24, this is the second time he’s been to Beijing rom his home in Henan province. His parents are peanut and corn farmers with a decent two acres of land. Liu has been helping his parents with farm work since he could walk, but when he was in high school he fell in love with documentary films and the realistic films of China’s master filmmaker, Zha Jiangke. “In 2006, he won a big prize in film. I saw in news and I thought if I had an opportunity to do film I will and if not I will be a photographer. I can go back to Henan and open a studio doing weddings, commercial, advertising work.” But his goals are higher. He loves to read China’s Nobel laureate Mo Yan, as well as Yu Hua, Faulkner and Tolstoy. Their books sit in a pile near his bed in the basement room. “My generation is so different from my parentsí. People of my generation are civil servants, car salesmen. No one farms anymore. And factories are coming closer and closer to our farmland, making food, instant noodles, toilet paper. My parentsí generation lived on and depended on the land. But we have all left the land. “Dad wanted me to be a primary school teacher. But I thought art teacherís salary too low and they had too much free time. So I wanted to do something more.” “I learned of basement living from Jia Zhangke’s film The World, where there’s a character who lives in a basement. The first basement I stayed in in beijing was large but very humid, 700 yuan per month. After one month it was still smelly and there was water

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