Liao Xiaoming, his wife and his 13-year-old son all live in two square metres in a public restroom.
They live with the constant sound of toilets flushing. A Chinese family in the city of Guangzhou, in south-east China, chooses to live in public restrooms so that their son can attend a local school.
For a family of modest means, housing in Guangzhou is unaffordable. Liao Xiaoming, his wife Wang Xuanna, and their 13-year-old son live in a 2 metre-square space in a public restroom on Beijing Road, one of the city’s busiest streets. They moved to the city from the countryside in 2004, hoping to give their son a better future.
The couple found employment cleaning this public restroom to get around China’s hukou system, which forbids migrant workers’ children from attending local schools in order to discourage them from moving with their whole families. The city grants employees an exception to the hukou law, and also pays nine years of their son’s school fees, which can cost up to 10,000 euros per year.
This family’s case is not unique: in Zhejiang Province, a little girl and her grandfather live in a public restroom where he works while she goes to school. Meanwhile, other migrant workers get around the hukou system by enrolling their children in illegal schools.
Xiaoming's family has arranged the little space it has so that the son can study up above while the mother cooks below.
Xuanna cleans the public restroom while her son studies, just a few feet away.
The family showers in the restroom's handicapped stall. All photos published on chinaground.net.