In Rural China, It's a Family Affair

It's a chilly evening in this land of yellow earth and the matrimonial bed for Liu Dehai and Hai Hongmei is laid with a quilt embroidered with the characters for "double happiness." The words are also pasted on the wall, a bright-red portent of good fortune for just-married Chinese. Next to the bed sits a new pleather sofa, plastic wrap still hanging from its arms. This should be a place of contentment and hope, but Liu's mother doesn't want anyone observing too closely. "Please," she says, hands frantically kneading the quilt, "do not speak of this room." Indeed, the newlyweds point...

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