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The elderly enjoy a game of cards in their new relocation home in Changsha.

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A shopping mall caters to new farmers-turned-urbanites in Changsha city.

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A woman from the countryside falls asleep at work in a restaurant in the heart of a relocation housing estate in China's southwestern Chongqing city. She -- and her customers -- were recently relocated from nearby villages the government razed to make way for urban high-rises. In theory, new urbanites mean a break from the cycle of subsistence farming.

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Li Rui, 60, scavenges for building materials at the site of his former village in the northeastern province of Shangdong, now bulldozed into a giant construction site. The local government began razing the village three years ago to turn farmland into an urban development zone. Li expects to be resettled this year into one of the high-rises behind the row of commercial residential buildings.