Mao Tan Changis a remote town in the mountainous region of Anhui and is home to one of China’s most intense exam-oriented high schools. According to reports, Mao Tan Chang High School currently enrolls 20,000 students, four times the local population. Their purpose? To study day and night and prepare for the gaokao, China’s ultra-competitive national college entrance exam.
Pictured above is student Xu Peng sitting in a classroom at Tsinghua University, China’s most elite college. He was the only student from Mao Tan Chang to get admitted to Tsinghua, and he’s a kind of famous back in his hometown because of it. While he hardly appears to be a tough guy, with his thin frame and boy band-styled side-swept hair, he said he chose Tsinghua because it’s a “cruel place”. Sometimes, he studies for 48 hours straight, only taking a break to go to the bathroom and eat in the canteen