What does it take for a country to become developed? There are various costs of progress. This needull looks at millions of Chinese children who have been left behind by their parents drawn to big cities for employment.

Outside school, they occupy themselves in whatever new distractions can expand to fill their days. One Saturday morning saw them climbing the highest hilltop to swing from a tree like monkeys, sliding down a mound of building materials next to an animal sty under construction and dipping their forearms into the water of a rice paddy to see how high the mud reached. A favourite game, their own invention, is to clap their hands as close to a miniature deck of cards as possible, trying to flip over cards which can then be played to beat lower-value cards until one of them has the whole deck. They go back to their grandparents’ homes for hot meals twice a day, but otherwise the village is theirs.

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Alec Ash — 1843

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