Jim Yardley, a correspondent for the New York Times, has written this wonderful piece (in the International Herald Tribune) about the Dongxiang people who live in the mountains of Gansu province. An old man he interviewed there, who has never seen an airplane or watched television, described China as "a country run by people who are supposed to be helping us."
The Dongxiang are one of the poorest and most isolated ethnic minorities in China, and they belie the oft-told stories of China’s vast middle class with their rising disposable incomes. Surely, some Chinese are getting richer. But it is too simple to believe that the streets of Shanghai tell the whole story, with their Benzes and LV bags. Let us not forget that what has been true about China since time immemorial is still true: most people here live in poverty. And they continue to represent the greatest threat to China’s overall advancement.