From Houston Chronicle (link):
Like most young Chinese people of her generation, He Wei grew up in a hutong, a maze of narrow streets and alleys lined by tiny residences and leading to a central courtyard.
“You felt really close to your neighbors,” she says. “We looked out for each other, helped each other. But we didn’t have basic facilities. If we wanted a shower, we’d walk to a public place. And about 20 families shared one Eastern-style toilet in the courtyard.
“At rush hour, maybe 20 people would be in line to use that toilet.”
Her parents never made more than 200 yuan a month at their jobs. “That’s $25,” she says. “But we only paid $5 a year to the government in rent. Our health insurance was paid. So was our education. And food was very cheap. We used to eat a lot of Chinese cabbage.”