Fortune seemed to smile on Deng Linjie when he learned he had been accepted into an elite US art graduate school.
He had grown up with little money for luxuries. Just about the only thing in abundance in his North China home as he matured into a young man had been the sound of his parents quarrelling before they separated.
To someone who had only known two cities – Linfen, his hometown in southern Shanxi province, and Beijing, where he had gone for his undergraduate study – the offer of admission from the prestigious School for Visual Arts in New York City was a dream come true.
But Deng faced a tough struggle finding a way to pay for his anticipated education expenses.
His undergraduate institution, Beijing City University, had refused to help him when he explained to officials that his family had just 200,000 yuan (US$31,036) to spend on his education in New …