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Rice Paddy People

The young Chinese laborer was desperate. Like millions of other migrant workers in China’s dash to industrialize, he had left his home and family to work in a factory in the rural interior. Now, environmental officials had closed the zinc smelter in Futian where he worked, and without a job, nearly out of money and separated from his support community, he knocked on the door of the inquisitive American who had been conducting interviews in the village.