these are just the first few paragraphs, go read the whole thing
PUJIA, China — His dying debt was $80. Had he been among China’s urban elite, Zheng Qingming would have spent more on a trendy cellphone. But he was one of the hundreds of millions of peasants far removed from the country’s new wealth. His public high school tuition alone consumed most of his family’s income for a year.
He wanted to attend college. But to do so meant taking the annual college entrance examination. On the humid morning of June 4, three days before the exam, Qingming’s teacher repeated a common refrain: he had to pay his last $80 in fees or he would not be allowed to take the test. Qingming stood before his classmates, his shame overtaken by anger.
“I do not have the money,” he said slowly, according to several teachers who described the events that morning. But his teacher — and the system — would not budge.
A few hours later, Qingming, 18 years old, stepped in front of an approaching locomotive. The train, like China’s roaring economy, was an express.
If his gruesome death was shocking, the life of this peasant boy in the rolling hills of northern Sichuan Province is repeated a millionfold across the Chinese countryside. Peasants like Qingming were once the core constituency of the Communist Party. Now, they are being left behind in the money-centered, cutthroat society that has replaced socialist China……..
the whole article is at http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/01/international/01CHIN.html?hp