Dreams of Leaving


LONELY STREET: Big Lin's family thinks he owns a house and a restaurant in Cambridge — but he's really a low-paid cook

Ocean waves dance around Little Lin's toes before the water is pulled back out by a distant force. That faraway energy is tugging at him, too, drawing him away from this muddy beach in China's eastern Fujian province toward Europe, to a better life he is sure will one day be his. Last year, the 29-year-old told a snakehead, as traffickers who help smuggle Chinese abroad are known, that he was ready. Many of his friends and family members have already gone. Now it is his turn. He wants to follow his older brother to England, where he's heard that the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!