For the past few months, the disappearance of Chinese photographer Lu Guang has been making headlines. He dedicated almost 40 years of his life toward using the art of photography to shed light on such issues as environmental destruction and pollution in both the industrial and rural areas of China.
In November 2018, he disappeared. It was probably because he became the first Chinese photographer to ever be invited to be a visiting scholar by the U.S. State Department, and Beijing. He was based in New York City, until he was traveling in Xinjiang, China, and was taken away by state “security agents,” without a word since, but it was confirmed they took him away for basically telling the truth, going against the government.
One of the most compelling facets of his story is the fact that he really lived through the policies of dictator Mao Zedong in the People’s Republic of China. Just like a lot of other people who grew up in the 1960’s and 70’s in China, he saw things that are best depicted by his photos.
Of course it should be recognized that the West and its media really have no problem recognizing the flaws in the Chinese government, in some ways their geopolitical opposition, but those tyrannical features of Chinese society and government should never be underestimated or ignored, out of respect and love for all the common people of China.
Out of respect for this man who put his life on the line to defend the freedom and health of his fellow Chinese people, here are some of his photos.
A worker in Wuhai City, Inner Mongolia, photo taken on April 10, 2005.
A dismal, grey scene in China, with pollution rising from the background and a somber expression on this man’s face.
An eleven year old named Xu Li, of Hutsou, suffering from bone cancer, probably as a result of environmental toxicity.
A child living in the “industrial district.”
Around the same period of time that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill occurred, on July 16, 2010 the Dalian Bay pipeline of the Newport Oil Wharf exploded, depositing an untold mass of oil into the water, causing fishing boats to be assigned duty cleaning it up.
The photographer won an award at the 2004 World Press Photo competition, because he exposed “AIDS villages,” in which at least 678 people were infected with HIV as a result of selling their blood.
A heartbreaking moment of a woman carrying her badly ill grandson, trying to prevent the “devil of pain” from coming back.
Farmers adopted these disabled orphans.
Milk powder is being consumed off of a bed, by poor children with cerebral palsy.
Factories have severely polluted the Laseng Temple, with a history going back over 200 years, once featuring the study of Mongolian medicines.
This is dust from factories, where employees are made to work, as several factories have been moved from China’s east to its western and central regions.
Mineral processing sewage being dumped into the tailings dam by the Baotou Steel plant.
This is a famous photo of a man having to deal with the polluted environment.
Sewage in the sea, courtesy of the city of Lianyungang’s chemical industrial park of Yanwei Port.
Xintang Town is a place where jeans are produced, and every morning workers gain stone for grinding denim.
A wife is taking care of her husband who may pass away.
Upon returning to her village from Beijing to celebrate the Spring Festival, Qi Guigua passed away a couple hours after this photo was taken, after falling ill.
To pay medical bills for health problems brought on by pollution, families like this have had to sell everything.
In winter, this young girl is warming her hands. Her father is infected with HIV, and cares for five children and elderly parents regardless.