Amazing Pictures, Pollution in China

| October 21st, 2009

[QQ] October 14, 2009, the 30th annual awards ceremony of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund took place at the Asia Society in New York City. Lu Guang (卢广) from People’s Republic of China won the $30,000 W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography for his documentary project “Pollution in China.”


1. “At the junction of Ningxia province and Inner Mongolia province, I saw a tall chimney puffing out golden smoke covering the blue sky, large tracts of the grassland have become industrial waste dumps; unbearable foul smell made people want to cough; Surging industrial sewage flowed into the Yellow River…”Lu Guang (卢广), freelancer photographer, started as an amateur photographer in 1980. He was a factory worker, later started his own photo studio and advertising agency. August of 1993 he returned to post-graduate studies at the Central Arts and Design Academy in Beijing (now is the Academy of Arts and Design, Tsinghua University). During graduate school, he studied, traveled all over the country and carved out a career, became the “dark horse” of the photographer circle in Beijing. Skilled at social documentary photography, his insightful, creative and artistic work often focused on “social phenomena and people living at the bottom of society”, attracted the attentions of the national photography circle and the media. Many of his award winning works focused on social issues like, “gold rush in the west”, “drug girl”, “small coal pit”, “HIV village”, “the Grand Canal”, “development of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway” and so on.

– Lu Guang



2. Chemical waste from Jiangsu Taixing Chemical Industrial District (江苏泰兴化工园区) dumped on top of the Yangtze River bank. May 15, 2009



3. Fan Jai Zhuang in Anyang City, Henan province, (河南安阳市范家庄) there is only one wall separating this village from the steelmaking furnaces. The villagers live in this heavily polluted environment where the village is under the iron rain every day. March 24, 2008



4. Industrial sewage of Zhejiang Xiaoshan Industrial District (浙江萧山化工园区) eventually flowed into Qiantang River. April 24, 2009



5. Henan Anyang iron and steel plant’s (河南安阳钢铁厂) sewage flowed into Anyang River. March 25, 2008



6. Guiyu, Guangdong province, (广东省贵屿镇) rivers and reservoirs have been contaminated, the villager is washing in a seriously polluted pond. November 25, 2005



7. Shizuishan Industrial district in Ningxia province (宁夏石嘴山湖滨工业园区), the tall chimneys spitted out smoke and dust. Residents took preventive measure for the falling dust from the sky when going outside. April 22, 2006



8. In the Yellow Sea coastline, countless sewage pipes buried in the beach and even extending into the deep sea. April 28, 2008



9. In Ma’anshan, Anhui province (安徽马鞍山), along the Yangtze River there are many small-scaled Iron selection factories and plastic processing plants. Large amounts of sewage discharged into the Yangtze River June 18, 2009



10. In Inner Mongolia there were 2 “black dragons” from the Lasengmiao Power Plant (内蒙古拉僧庙发电厂) covering the nearby villages. July 26, 2005



11. Jiangsu province Changshu City Fluorine Chemical industry land sewage treatment plant (江苏省常熟市氟化学工业园污水处理厂) was responsible for collection and processing of the industrial sewage. However they did not, the sewage pipe was extended 1500 meters under the Yangtze River and releasing the sewage there. 2009 June 11



12. Soil by Yangtze River, was polluted by Anhui Province Ma’anshan Chemical Industrial District (安徽省马鞍山化工园区). June 26, 2009



13. Large amount of the industrial wastewater flowed to Yellow River from Inner Mongolia Lasengmiao Industrial District (内蒙古拉僧庙工业园区) every day. July 26, 2005



14. A Large amount of the chemical wastewater discharged into Yangtze River from Zhenjiang Titanium mill (镇江市钛粉厂) every day. Less than 1,000 meters away downstream is where the water department of Danyang City gets its water from. June 10, 2009



15. In Haimen city, Jiangsu province Chemical Industrial District sewage treatment Plant (江苏省海门市化工园区污水处理厂) discharged wastewater into Yangtze River. June 5, 2009



16. Hebei Province Shexian Tianjin Iron and steel plant (河北省涉县天津钢铁厂) is a heavily polluting company. Company scale is still growing, seriously affecting the lives of local residents. March 18, 2008



17. Longmen town in Hanchen city, Shaanxi Province (陕西省韩城市龙门镇) has large-scaled industrial development. Environment is very seriously polluted there. April 8, 2008



18. There are over 100 chemical plants in Jiangsu province coastal industry district. (江苏滨海头罾沿海化工园区) Some of them discharge wastewater into the ocean; some heavily contaminated sewage is stored in 5 “Sewage Temporary Pools”. During the 2 high tides in every month, the sewage then gets discharged into the ocean with the tides. June 20, 2008



19. Jiangxi Province Hu Ko County Chemical Industry district (江西省胡口县化工园区) is by the Yangtze River. Chemical factory landfill the Yangtze River bank to expand the scale of the factory without authorization.



20. Anhui Province Cihu Chemical Industry District (安徽省慈湖化工园区) built a underground pipe to discharge wastewater into the Yangtze River. The wastewater sometimes is black, gray, dark red, or yellow, wastewater from different chemical factories has different colors. June 18, 2009



21. Shanxi Province is the most polluted areas of China. It is also the province with the highest rate of birth defects. This loving farmer couple adopted 17 disabled children. April 15, 2009

“In Some areas of China people’s lives were threatened because of the environmental pollution. Residents suffering from all kinds of obscured diseases, the cancer villages, increase of deformed babies, these were the results of sacrificing environment and blindly seeking economical gain.”

– Lu Guang



22. Elder shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell. April 23, 2006



23. 15-year-old boy from Tianshui, Gansu Province (甘肃天水), dropped out of the school after 2nd grade, followed his parents to Heilonggui (黑龙贵) Industrial District. He earns 16 yuan a day. April 8, 2005



24. Inner Mongolia province Heilonggui (黑龙贵) Industrial District, the couple who worked at the Plaster Kiln and just got home. March 22, 2007



25. Villagers from Kang village in Linfen City, Shanxi Province (山西省临汾市下康村) due to long-term consumption of the polluted water contaminated by industrial waste, there were 50 people who have cancer and cerebral thrombosis. 64-year-old Wang Baosheng got ill since 2003, he has fester all over his body so he cannot go to bed and lying face down on the edge of the bed each day. July 10, 2005



26. Breathing in large amount of dust into the lungs, people gets sick after working there for 1-2 years. Most of these migrant workers come from area of poverty. April 10, 2005



27. Zhangqiao village by the Hong River in Wugang City, Henan Province (河南省舞钢市洪河边的张桥村), a 45-year-old woman Sun Xiaojun (孙晓军) could not move her feet and hands since 4 years ago. The numerous hospital treatments were not effective. April 7, 2009



28. Zhaozhuang village by the Hong River in Wugang City, Henan province (河南省舞钢市洪河边的赵庄村), 66-year-old Zhao Bingkun suffering from esophageal cancer since 2004, after the second surgery, treatment cost already have reached over 200,000 yuan. His condition is in late stage, he is having fever everyday, waiting for death. April 7, 2009



29. Zhaozhuang village by the Hong River in Wugang City, Henan province (洪河边的河南省西平县张于庄村), Gao Wanshun’s (高万顺) wife died of cancer. Now he lives in poverty. April 3, 2009



30. Linfen City in Shanxi province (山西临汾市) is seriously polluted area. Farmers after working in the cotton fields for 2 hours are filled with coal ashes. September 24 2007



31. Salt factory worker in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province (江苏连云港) said angrily, “when the wind blowing towards our side, the foul smell from the chemical factories is unbearable. There is even more poison gas at night.” July 19, 2008



32. People form Fanjiazhuang (范家庄) are ready to submit a complain filled with their fingerprints, to seek compensation for pollution damages. March 19, 2008



33. In Shanxi Province there are a lot of charitable nursing homes, to help disabled infants abandoned by their parents. April 14, 2009



34. Liujiawan village by the Hong River in Wugang City, Henan province (河南省舞钢市洪河边的刘家湾村), 13 year old Yang Xiao in November 2008 was ill with obscure disease.  She was saved by the donation of the villagers. When the grandmother saw the old village chief came to visit his granddaughter, she kneeled on the ground holding granddaughter’s hand. April 19, 2009



35. The oldest is 9, not going to school. The youngest is less than 2 years old. They lived in severely polluted area. They hands and faces were always dirty. April 10, 2005



36. Mazhuang village by the Hong River in Wugang City, Henan province, (河南省舞钢市洪河边的马庄村) 58-year-old Ma Haipeng (马海朋) was suffering from stomach cancer since 2006 and could not work in the field. He must take medicine every day, otherwise it is too painful. April 6, 2009



37. Every year, a lot of deficiency babies in Shanxi Province were abandoned. Kong Zhenlan (孔贞兰) in Qi town (祁县) who was making a living by recycling trash adopted 25 abandoned children. April 14, 2009



38. Xuanwei (宣威) in Yunnan province is a cancer village. Every year there are more than 20 people die of cancer. 11-year-old student Xu Li (徐丽) is suffering from bone cancer. May 8, 2007



39. In Shexian Village, Hebei Province, (河北省涉县固新村) the existing cancer patients are more than 50 people and more than 20 cancer patients die each year. March 18, 2008


40.  Zhangyuzhuan village by the Hong River in Xiping county, Henan province, (河南省西平县洪河边的张于庄村) 22-year-old Zhu Xiaoyan (朱小燕) had a tumor in her stomach in 2007. She died after number of hospital treatments on July 2008. 4-year-old girl with her grandfather came to mother’s tomb. April 2009 2


original source: Fengniao

Followup: Interview with Lu Guang, the photographer of “Pollution in China”

1,581 Comments | Leave a comment | Comment feed

  1. What amazing work showing images that are hard to look at, but expertly photographed.

    It is very sad the terrible things that happen where the end user never sees. That’s why, like Thomas Merton, one needs to be afraid of owning anything, for fear of the illness done upon the maker of the thing.

  2. Observer says:

    Amazing and heartbreaking images. We consume everyday things that have caused such degradation and pain to our planet and others like us in their production. I wonder when this will all stop, how many will have to suffer and die before we begin to see.

    • eric says:

      Right,… I wonder how much you will sacrifice?

      Do you drink water from a stream, eat grass and bury your waste in the ground?
      If not, you are part of the problem and thus, have no right to speak that way.

      But this isn’t even about consumption, and pointing the finger at “us” and “we” does nothing. Regulation and reponsible government is needed.

      We can consume all we want if we do it in a responsible way.

      • Lester says:

        Eric, take some responsibility for your life. It’s called democracy for a reason, you’ve got to be the change you want, not pawn off responsibility on some nebulous mummy who doesn’t actually exist. No, you can’t consume all you want to, and no that can never be responsible. This is planet earth, where resources and living space are limited. Let’s move on from this era of being greedy irresponsible babies.

        • David Hewison says:

          All these new ‘greenies with a cause’ what will be your cause next year..? Get a grip – everyone’s a greeny now its become trendy.. people are like sheep…


          England, the US, Europe, Australia, Japan all have one thing in common.. they have mostly got their act together in respect to pollution control and human rights, unlike china.

          Has anyone here asked why???? Because they took responsibility and cleaned up their act! Consumers consumed then, as they do now. and in fact it was consumers, who also happen to VOTE who drove them to change.

          China MUST clean up her act and take responsibility, and yes, we should encourage it. However, as long as communism exists there, the process will be slow.

          I am sick of all the new age, greed is bad, communism is good set… how many of you actually live in communist states???? If you do, and you enjoy it, please stop pushing your sadistic affront to freedom on others.. your worse than the Mormons. If you live in a democratic society, careful, you may get what you wish for and there’ll be no one to save you. Maybe thats what you need, feeble minds do have trouble with the concept if independence.

          Do you all think we are technologically frozen in time?

          In the ’70s there was the oil crisis… most thought the world oil supplies would run dry by the turn of the century, who thought that technology would advance such that, not only did we find more oil through better detection, but we consumed less not by lessening our reliance on it, but by improving efficiencies. All those alarmists then didnt have the forethought to consider that we are an evolving species, every improving… My Alfa will get 1000 kms to a tank! and it still goes fast… that wasnt possible 20 years ago. Imagine what will be possible in 20 years time!

          In 1920, Hispano Suiza produced a 13 litre, 12 cylinder TWO SEATER!!! it was lucky to achieve 40 litres per 100kms – actually it used more! we have moved on from those days.

          Today, my 2 litre 4 cylinder produces more power and bairly uses 5.5 litres on the highway. Human advancements.. Not government intervention… is how we will survive and sustain ourselves in the future.

          A noteworthy point here – Government intervention had nothing to do with these advances.. .it was CAPITALISM… the need to survive..

          We will continue to make advances. Guys we are only 100 years into industrialization. in 100 years time we will look back on today in the same way we look to 100 years ago… we are, to people from 100 years in the future, primitive.. we can continue to consume, we can sustain ourselves, there will always be advances as there is money to be made in it.

          The worst thing that can happen is to have governments get involved.. or worse still, latte sipping, lental and soybean loving new age greenies with a cause getting in the way.

          The more you idiots that advocate carbon reduction tariffs, cap and trade taxes, and carbon offsets, the more you play into the hands of countries like India and china who know damn well that Co2 is not driving climate change.. the more you add to the problems that these photos highlight.

          By punishing the US, Australia and other rich nations, that not only apply clean technologies to industry, but are developing these technologies further, you are forcing industry to move to countries that DO NOT use these technologies.

          Why do you think china is one of the worst polluters in the world? a few reasons:
          1. A huge population
          2. They do not employ clean technologies (co2 is not pollution, however particulate matter is.)
          3. they are cheaper than the states, europe or Australia…

          so whats our solution? we charge a tax on carbon, to fight a problem that doesnt exist, which forces industry to move offshore to china where they effectively pullute even more!

          Lets make it attractive for industry to come back, they will burn fossil fuel regardless of where they do it, so lets encourage them to do it in countries that can offer technologies that minimize the impact, rather than in countries that do nothing.

          Have you noticed the skylines in wealthy cities lately, the air is clean, no smog.. can you say the same thing for china, bangkok??? and others? no.

          It’s amazing, all the hype about global warming, blaming mans co2, governments forcing the world to slash carbon emissions, scientists and companies scrambling to chase the subsidies and grants being thrown at them…. all to reduce an invisible, odourless gas essential to life.. all the while, we spew out particulate matter, toxins into the atmosphere, smog, we spill oil in the ocean, pour chemicals into rivers, sewerage into our oceans.. we cut our rain forrest down.. All of this is forgotten.. all of this is what IS killing our planet.

          The idiot environmentalist greenies in california have legislated that all fuel must contain 10% ethanol, which is made by fermenting corn…. There isnt enough farmland in California to produce the required amount to meet supply, so crops are popping up in africa, taking up farm land that used to produce food for the poor.. but who cares about those developing nations, our carbon footprint is much more important.. the process of conversion to ethanol requires energy, which comes from fossil fuels.. the fermentation process its self emits co2… just like wine production, which is taxed in california for that very reason…

          so, its terrific that ethanol additive fuel emits less carbon, but if yo utake into account the production of it, it robs third world nations of food crops, and it produces 30% more carbon emissions for corn variants, 57% for wood – do I need to go on?

          Hybrid cars – yes they make you feel good dont they, bugger all exhaust emissions… Except that we exploit the people of the congo to mine the core metals required for the batteries. the manufacturing process to make the car has a carbon footprint that makes a hummer look green.. in fact, hybrids are dirtier as far as carbon goes than a hummer on speed! And that doesnt take into account the fact that you cannot dispose of the batteries without poisoning the earth…

          Fluorescent light globes, yeah they use less power, the greenies lobbied for them to replace incandescent globes, now we pay $10 for a globe that performs worse than a 50c incandescent version and councils are banning their disposal because they are hazardous to the environment but also deadly to humans!

          If there was ever an example of monkeys running the coup, this is a prime one.

          Environmentalists are to the environment as atom bombs are to japan.

          Will sense and reason ever again prevail???

          Environmentalist have done more to bugger our planet up than anyone else in history put together. Please… I beg you, go back to your lattes and shut the hell up. The planet cannot wait!

      • Michael says:

        I’m not sure where to start picking your thoughtless response apart:

        Living in hardship and squalor does not mean you are NOT part of the problem. Living in a first world country does not mean you ARE part of the problem. It’s about choices and responsible consumer behaviour. Drinking water from a stream is not wise anywhere on the planet anymore. Our ancestors never ate grass as a staple. We have been farming and scavenging for tens of thousands of years. Burying your waste in the ground is not responsible when you have regulated sewage treatment plants, and consuming “all we want” by definition cannot be “responsible.”

        The only part of your comment that I can agree with is that regulation and responsible government is needed. In order to achieve that though you need a real democracy with rule of law whereby the people can vote out a corrupt government and elect one that will be responsible for the people without fear of persecution. China would require one hell of a revolution to accomplish what many of us in the first world take for granted.

  3. Sadly China is not the only place where this is happening. Hat’s off to Mr. Guang, amazing yet heartbreaking images.

  4. Gakuranman says:

    Fantastic pictures that tell an incredible story! I can definitely learn many things from these pictures to better photograph the daily life in Japan around me.

  5. Ridhi says:

    These pictures are fabulous. I hope that they travel far and wide to spread the word.

    My warmest wishes to the people photographed and the photographers.



  6. ngoxuanphu says:

    It happends with all developing countries , My country is too. Fields turn into industries zone

  7. Danie Nel says:

    This is sad – I live in a developing country as well, but luckily the Government has been diligent in starting early with environmental protocols. Our country derives lots of income from tourism and our natural habitat, so I suppose it makes sense. Greed in this case makes people conserve 🙂

    Beautiful imagery, really impressive documentary style of photography.

    Cape Town South Africa

  8. Пааев says:

    Привет Китайца

  9. Bono says:

    Fortunately, we all know the consequences of consumerism in today’s society where we buy things we don’t need without realizing the harm we are causing to those who manufacture the products we end up trashing. Unfortunately, this is the endless story of our planet which everyday seems to suffer more and more of this illness that men’s greedy developed. I hope this images help us better understand the ugly truth our planet faces and that together we may find a solution to stop this nightmare that has already taken away the lives of those in pursue of happiness. Thank you and may God bless you all!

    • the Flapjawman says:

      Hey Bono:
      WAKE UP. It is a dictatorship that brought you this “Utopia” . In a place where the average person has no say, no vote, no recourse, he becomes a throw-away. The pollution is not due to consumerism, it is due to GOVERNMENT running everything.
      Environmentalism is running amok and soon we will have government in all aspects of our lives to serve the agenda. Get with it!
      Man’s greed? Really? Um, ok
      sure, COMMUNISM’s greed…in your “environmental’ protective world only elites get to live well. The rest of the society is nothing.
      Our planet does just fine…. OOOPS, I meant to say, if one thinks, and moderates, the planet does just fine. Now, if it were not for that damn Sun, cooling the planet, you could all jump on the control bandwagon some more…

      • Jason says:

        I disagree. I do not think that the pollution is due to government “running everything.” It is due to the various factories and industries who dump their waste into the river not doing enough, or caring enough, to find a better way of disposing of it. I believe in some cases, government helps the situation. It is the government who can have power to limit pollution and enforce pollution standards, so I do not believe power of government is the problem. The problem is how the government runs things. As seen by these pictures above, something needs to be done immediately to fix this pollution problem, whether or not it is the government that does it.

      • lisaerika says:

        Hey…..Flapjawman…you wake up….did you just crawl out of a rock….that is Bono from the band U2…..if anyone knows about world affairs…..I think it would be BONO from U2 and not some want-to-be intellectual called FLAPJAWMAN….read it again and get what he’s trying to say……”You can not change it until you make the change” i.e….”Stop buying crap from China”….Yes….it is Mans Greed……MORON….Crawl back under your rock……………your the person that does nothing about it but BITCH!!!!!!


  10. Ger says:

    This made me sad. 🙁


  11. mx says:

    heartbreaking. more people need to see these.

  12. ousseynou says:

    abominable:c’est tout

  13. Raajesh M says:

    amazing as much as shocking images of a depravity forced upon innocent to fulfill the wishes of a capitalist society.

  14. David Hewison says:

    Stupid is as Stupid does… This is not the result of consumerism. It is, as a reader has already stated, the result of a communist government intent on taking advantage of the worlds markets and the cost of their own ‘dispensable’ populace.

    Of course, those on the left are blind to their own ideology. Their own policies of humanitarian feel goodness always has a knock on effect.. and the knock on effect is plain to see in these images.

    In a dictatorship, which china is, her government answers to no one. They do not need to put in place measures to reduce pollution, or risk or improve safety… there is no need for quality control. They are in power and short of another country invading them, nothing will change that.

    The government decides there’s money to be made selling stuff to the evil western world.. given the western world has standards in: wages, pollution control, occupational Health and safety, a minimum standard of living for its citizens – China can, as they are a communist state do away with all of those evil things and offer none and as such sell the same product for a fraction of the cost…

    Now the evil nasty western world is obsessed with Co2 footprints, they introduce cap and trades.. there by forcing industry and energy produces to simply buy from … the chinese where there are no such laws….

    Stand by to see more and more images like these – but my friends on the left – at least you’ll feel good.

    • eric says:

      Wow, I am “on the right” and you sound like an idiot with that rant.
      This has nothing to do with “the left”.

      • David Hewison says:

        Eric, you don’t think that communism and its lack of accountability to its people has anything at all do to with this?

        I never suggested its the only reason, albeit a large part.

        However, each to our own – at least we live a society where we can disagree without being ‘re-educated’ 🙂

        • Nikki says:

          Eric is right. This has nothing to do with left or right or even communism. This has to do with consumerism. The US is the number 1 importer of Chinese goods. If we didn’t purchase so much, China wouldn’t have the resources to be able to do this to its people and environment. Don’t you think world governments have some say in what is imported into their countries? Isn’t that what tariffs are for?

          • David Hewison says:

            Nikki, Tarrifs are a soft form of socialist control.. whilst in some case they are needed, too many would cause more damage than good.

            Having said that, I dont buy the consumerism argument… For starters, why would be give ‘consumerism’ a name? Doing that suggests it has a distinction from something else.. in other words, you are either a consumerist – or your not. Given we do have this name for it, I’ll use it..

            My argument is that we are all Consumerists. If you eat, your a consumerist. Wea re talking about 6 billion people all buying things, from third world countries (yes they have to pay their way too) to 1st world countries like Australia, where I live… the only difference is the quantity and type of goods and services we buy.

            I’m sure you wear clothes for instance? If you answered yes, you’re a consumerist.

            Now we can all have these feel good ideals, but the fact remains is that we have bred.. and bred lots!! 6 odd billion people on this planet and we all have to sustain ourselves. Commerce allows this however unfair it is… developing nations are rising (unless the global warming nuts get their way) and we are heading for a future where the worlds population is growing more wealthy which is good for all. But back to the point..

            So we all seem to have a problem with China taking advantage of its people in the name of consumerism. I’d be surprised if I could find one single person that truly does not by any product made in china for humanitarian reasons. I expect that most people that protest so loudly are in fact part of the problem. The reason i say this is that almost everything is made in China now. Why? Because they are so much cheaper than everywhere else, manufacturers have no choice if they are to stay in business so that they can continue to employ their work forces. YOu might say that corporations are evil, you’d be right in many ways but they do this because their customers (you and me) demand lower prices.. and we respond by buying.

            It is individuals that drive this market…

            Yet, China allows this to happen. Why is that? Surely there would be public uproar? I mean, this doesn’t happen in Australia… and the reason it doesn’t is because we have standards here set by the government which reflect community wishes. If we don’t like what our government does, we vote them out.

            China can do what they like… not to the extent of North Korea but still, their Government cannot be voted out, they are a communist state who have embraced capitalism without any of the safety nets that make most other capitalist democracies work so well. So they want the money, but have no interest in the responsibility of that privilege.

            So who’s fault is it? the billions of individuals who are just going about their life, the companies having to reduce costs because their competitors have so must compete or go broke, or is it the Chinese Government who openly allow this to happen?

            You might want to introduce tariffs, thats fine for wealthy people or upper middle class – they’ll live.. what about the low income workers who can barely make ends meet? if you start controlling the market not only to prices skyrocket but product quality, and service dramatically reduces.. it is fierce competition that drives high quality and low prices. Just look at any communist or socialist country and you will be guaranteed to witness poverty, hunger, disease and misery. Remember Russia? Look at Cuba… North Korea!

            Humanity will never change. We are greedy creatures.. If you don’t believe me, next time you feel hungry – dont eat and see how long you last.. or , if a sexy blonde offers you sex.. turn her down.. because – you don’t have needs and your not greedy!

            NO system is perfect, communism has failed everywhere because if ignores the fact that we are human.. we all what different things, we all think. We are not lab rats. As such socialism (with is only the precursor to Communism) always corrupts and you end up with a minority elite controlling the masses with enormous divide between classes. Capitalism is not perfect either and without protective measures (the right balance is hard to establish) it can almost as much problems as Communism albeit different problems..

            Having said that capitalism (consumerism) is responsible for raising the worlds population as a whole (yes there are always some that are left behind) more than any other system in history.

            YOu have to remember, it is in only the last 100 years that the average citizen has grown financially independent… the middle classes have risen, the lower classes are on their way to a better quality of life. I mean look at humanity prior to the 20th century, poverty everywhere unless you were the chosen few.

            100 years is not long. We have a long way to go, yet we seem intent on taking ourselves back to the dark ages to political systems that do not work which are based on feel good left (yes left) ideologies that ignore life’s realities. And let me get in first – Fascism is a Left trait, not a right one. Take any fascism regime and you will find that their leaders aligned themselves with communist or socialist or national socialist (Nazi) governments. Mussolini was a marxist…

            Humans will always want to grow, learn, achieve and improve. If you cant see that then buy a ticket to the olympics. That is the essence of humanity… Capitalism is simply the same thing the only difference is that cash is to capitalism as training is to the olympics.

            So really who do we blame? Do we blame the chinese communists rulers becuase there is no incentive for them to introduce regulations which would stop these problems? Do you blame the corporates that are simply responding to their customers wishes? do you blame the customers (consumers) who are, after all, just managing what little money they have…

            Who’s fault is it? I think, if you look at this honestly, its everyones fault, humanity is responsible – but that will never change as we are… human!

            All we can do is learn from history (which we never seem to do) do we repress ourselves? that is called communism, or do we release our potential – capitalism… we will decide which way we go, but to force us is to destroy us.

            I know what I choose – freedom and individuality – I am in control of my life and i am responsible for its outcome- whether it be good or bad.

    • oneear says:

      your a fool who do you think buys those product ?some of you talk about goverments like youknow what your talking about,their goverment is no more communist than our goverment is democratic but they are both capitalistic and thats what fucs it all up because this and other things such as world hunger,disease and cures,low education and war is all based on a very few men making a lot of money without any regard for you or i or the is the key to the common mans problems,be water my friend be water

  15. Fantastic job, sad story.

  16. Eik says:

    It is a result of consumerism. I can’t believe there’s still people who don’t get it. We get to buy our products that cheap because the companies manufacture them in countries where there’s no enviromental laws which would cost the companies extra money. And the governments can’t really do anything cause the factories would just move to another country and it would harm the economy.

    • Tzar says:

      The government could establish environmental regulation to prevent excessive pollution but they are unwilling to pay for prolonged investment to do this. you can’t simply blame ‘consumerism’ – that’s like saying we should all go back to the stone age so production doesnt cause pollution. China could produce exports for the west (and continue to benefit from increasing living standards) AND implement political reforms to oversee environmental health. It would take many, many years however.

  17. Framtid Comes Alive says:

    David Hewison says:

    “The government decides there’s money to be made selling stuff to the evil western world.. ”

    Pandering to the demands of the “evil western world” doesn’t sound like a “leftist” ideology to me.

  18. Sancho says:

    Terrible!!! 🙁

  19. Amy says:

    What can we do? Something needs to be done!

  20. MadAGu says:

    If that’s what we call development i prefer to live in Africa in an oasis…

  21. Ali says:

    Never realised that the cost of Chinese goods is soo heavy, my heart breaks by just looking at these pictures, must change the way we live and consume! hats off to the brave man, who managed to pull together these pictures, a million words would have been insufficient..

  22. Hagen says:

    Consumerism is the culprit. I am not going to sit at my United States location and pretend this is a purely a Chinese problem. I am [expletive] recycling everything I own. Squeeze every freaking dollar out of my possession before replacing them.

    I also hate how some companies intentionally build and promote “broken/outdated-just-buy-a-new-one” mentality. They can go to h%ll. I miss the old days when something breaks, there are so many service providers out there who offer repair jobs. Now getting something repaired is as if one is trying to get a root canal.

    In addition, what is with this “you-got-to-have-the-latest-gadget” attitude? I remember my uncle bought a Nikon camera and used it for 20 years. Now, we [expletive] change cell phone every 4 years, replace laptop every 6 years, ditch old digital camera every 7 years, throw away toothbrushes every 3 months.

    • Margaret says:

      Right on! It is EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY!!!!! This is just a graphic example of the extreme results of what we are all contributing to!

  23. Green Islam says:

    I can’t stand most of those pictures… The one with the deformed kids is just unbearable for me.
    I’m always relunctant to buy products from China, I must send pictures to people who don”t understand my choice.

  24. Crunchy says:

    China’s emergence in the modern market does come with its corresponding set of ills. However, these ills are probably not much different than what Britain had during the Industrial Revolution, or than what the US had as it emerged into industrialization itself. The big difference is that China is industrializing as the world is “globalizing”, enabling it to crank up production not only for its domestic needs, but for the rest of the world too. And thus the historical ills of industrialization are magnified.

    I think the photos capture the plight of villagers and other people affected by the wanton rush towards industrialization in China. My heart goes out to all those people affected by this. I salute the journalist for recording this as an aspect of humanity that the rest of the world needs to see.

  25. Anup Gupta says:

    Development at the cost of harming the planet earth to such an extent…just unbearable pics…hope we realize how important and beautiful our planet is…it just does not deserve this treatment…

  26. Victor says:

    This is precisely why I will NOT buy anything produced in China — no clothes, no pet food or toys, no electronics, etc. — even if it costs more to not do so. The US should impose a tariff on Chinese goods and those of all other poluting nations until they bring their economy into civilized ecological standards. There is no reason why they should get a “pass on those standards just because they are a “developing nation.” What they really are doing is “developing” at our expense. This is why the ChiComs so heavily support the Western environmental movements, which except this dirty money without blinking an eye.

    • David Hewison says:

      yet the US is imposing a tariff on itself – incentivizing nations like china to continue this disgusting practice…

      that tariff is called the cap and trade tax.

  27. Victor says:

    Last line should read “which accept this dirty money without bllinking an eye.”


  28. Andy says:

    I think there is are some fundamental points that has not been addressed yet…

    1. these are private sector companies operating on CAPITALIST principles that are doing most of the polluting
    2. chinese villagers used to be looked after from CRADLE to GRAVE by the socialist system, but now they are left to the mercy of the market

  29. random bird says:

    im not defending the fat cats at all…these factories are probably whacked up by rich people who are trying to create growth and jobs in poorer areas…factories in certain areas take a lead in bringing the things we take for granted eg. electricity to these areas…china in the struggle to ‘not get left behind’ in terms of industry & commerce, which is fundamental to their existence in our commercial world, rush out and build factories…yet, the mentality of some businessmen is very old school and just because we have knowledge of how bad this is for the environment, I dont think we should for one minute assume that every factory is run by someone as knowledgable…we have great access to resources and media which highlight our global responsibility…the owner per-say could spend his evenings drinking and playing mahjong and be unaware of his ‘greater’ responsibility to the world…and we all know about chinas political history…the government are trying to get behind their environmental responsibilities however, their changes will be alot slower to develop than ours…think of the vast population that china covers…if they cant get electricity circulated to all its residents yet, arent we being a little too critical and expectant of how the governement can actually affect working practises…it is common knowledge that the governement are ill-equipped to deal with its vast population…there inadequacy to deal resulted in genocide previously…they need support & guidance, not criticism. Lets do that and be supportive while they still have open arms and no barriers.

    eg. picture no. 6 Guangdong province…I have family here…litter is a massive problem…they have pits and waste areas allotted…these are open dumps at the road side. I will find out how these are dealt with but I have never seen a method of collection during my stays there so assume a burning or burial method…
    also, many heavily populated ‘urban’ areas still have open sewers, this is the norm…

    …and who are these factories supplying to anyway?????….’the western world’…thats what makes me feel sick!

    :)…great photography though…but too me highlights how things can sorta be misinterpretted…especially with an artist behind the camera…we ‘will’ believe what we are told…

    Saying its not consumerism is just ignorance….yet, you all need to see the bigger picture and step outside your comfort zones to fully understand…perhaps your next holiday should be one of education.

    • Taojas says:

      “the government are trying to get behind their environmental responsibilities however, their changes will be alot slower to develop than ours”

      Yes. They certainly will be my friend. Why? The Chinese Government at all levels is itself a serious polluter. State-owned and state-run companies/enterprises are a large proportion of the polluters. An example was given in one of the photos –
      “Jiangsu province Changshu City Fluorine Chemical industry land sewage treatment plant (江苏省常熟市氟化学工业园污水处理厂) was responsible for collection and processing of the industrial sewage. However they did not, the sewage pipe was extended 1500 meters under the Yangtze River and releasing the sewage there. 2009 June 11”

      “if they cant get electricity circulated to all its residents yet, arent we being a little too critical and expectant of how the governement can actually affect working practises…”

      How ironic you mention elecricity supply. The Chinese are building Coal-fired powerstations like crazy. Great for the environment.

      “…it is common knowledge that the governement are ill-equipped to deal with its vast population…there inadequacy to deal resulted in genocide previously…they need support & guidance, not criticism. Lets do that and be supportive while they still have open arms and no barriers.”
      Hahahahaha Awww…pooorr widdle party had a genocide….ooohhh…you’re alright….

  30. Joey1058 says:

    History repeats itself. The reason that the classic Industrial Revolution period was never documented in images, was because photography was in its infancy. How many stories have you heard from the Pennsylvania coal regions about deplorable living and working conditions? Artist’s depictions of European blight from industry were simply dismissed as fables. Yet thousands were dieing from industrial fallout. Yet the western world managed to pull itself out of its morass.

    Now the east has its turn. But because we are in a global economy, this can be turned around quickly, if corporations just stop and think if they can get their heads out of their butts. Here in America alone, there are hundreds of factory complexes that sit idle because of China’s productivity. These factories already have all the checks and balances installed that prevent this kind of plague. Why couldn’t China simply purchase these factories, and start production here? That could let them shut down a few of the nasty sites in their own country long enough to install the checks and balances, without losing productivity! America gets a few jobs back, and the Chinese stay employed, just cleaning up the mess!

    Pie in the sky, I know, but it sounds like it might just work.

  31. SLZebell says:

    Yet this country is specifically exempt from the Kyoto Protocol…

  32. Nadir T Jr says:

    This is SOCIALISM. I HATE IT!!
    Wake up people! If not! Communism will kill you! Sooner ou later!!
    Wake up!
    Poor and suffering chinese people! My heart goes out to all of you!

    • McBob says:

      That is *NOT* socialism. Socialism is Canada, the UK, France, Sweden, etc. That is Corporate Fascism. No country in the history of the world has ever had an actual Communist government; “Communism” in China is just a deceptive label, hiding the true plutocrats behind all these atrocities.

      • Alexandra says:

        I don’t know if you can say Sweden is socialist – the social democratic party lost the last election.

        • Sir. says:

          just because the social democratic party didn’t win the last election dont mean that sweden is a socialism country, whatever party who has the “power” it still a socialism country.

          • All the varying forms of “Communism” failed miserably, sadly. And no socially democratic state can be called truly socialist either – Sweden has a healthy capitalist economy, as does Norway and Canada. The difference is that these are well regulated and well incentivized.

            Avoid purchasing chinese imports when possible, and be sure to recycle your electronics locally.

            • Mucho says:

              Communism was the unifying force bringing China from then to now. Pain and deformation will be the price they will pay for not having environmental controls. See mercury poisoning in Japan in the 60’s. This truly a tragedy for humanity.

      • joseph says:

        McBob – excellent comment. you rock. the “communism” brand is an excellent front for the plutocrats to hide behind. if the people rule in this system, why are they being systematically devalued, poisoned, and destroyed for profit?

      • David Hewison says:

        the ignorance in these posts is astonishing. Those countries are currently, or mostly, democratic socialists which is a very soft form of socialism – they’re moderates.. its like having your cake and eating it too.. a good description of social democrats is here –

        That said, Our meglomaniac of a PM here in Australia, wants this system… Although, to ensure he was elected, he assured us blind voters that he was fiscally conservative.. then within six months of office he wrote an essay denouncing capitalism and heralding socialism. Honesty is not a quality socialist dictators have embraced… they say whatever is necessary to win votes with no regard to what their actuall intentions are. I can only speak for our Dear Leader Mr Rudd as I closely follow our politics, but with every single policy he has implemented, you can list the blatant lies and without exception, each of these policies has caused more pain and suffering than anything before them.. but they are all in the name of equality, fairness and humanitarian intents. Of course the actual outcomes are always the opposite.

        Social Democrats must be deceitful and dishonest, they must create causes to attached to mass fear campaigns so guilt the voters into obedience .. Look at the Global Warming movement.. What better way to introduce central control, a socialist framework.. dress it up and call it environmentalism.

        NO socialist party would get traction in a multi party system..(assuming the system is transparent) the people will always vote for peace, individual freedom.. but the strange thing is… the same people will often say they are socialists, for they are attracted to the ideals of socialism.. those nasty rich people are eliminated, the disadvantaged are empowered… all for one, one for all. This of course never actually happens, as someone still has to run the country and invariably gets rich doing so, and rules with an iron fist and historically often a deadly fist.

        So Socialism must rely on being a dictatorship.. as does communism. When the people wake up and realize they have been downtrodden, they revolt.. theres an uprise and suddenly democracy prevails once again – moderation, centre left or right is normally the outcome.

        It never ceases to amaze me how many people are anti capitalism.. It would be no surprise to any thinking person that those who push the ideal fall under one of two categories…

        1, Wealthy, Powerful elites who wish to rule supreme, at the cost of the ‘little’ people and,
        2, Stupid people that need to be cared for by the state. These are the unsuccessful and lazy.

        The social democratic movement advocates – freedom, not only individual liberties, but also freedom from discrimination – yet with very few exception, seems to always achieve the very opposite. I would like any of you armchair socialist to prove me wrong – not with philosophical thought bubbles but with real world examples. Prove me wrong… with hard evidence, I will be the first to back down and admit my woes.

        So McBob, those examples you chose are Social democracies, not socialist states. Their Governments can still be voted out, they are still a multi party system. The people still have a say. Socialism is based on a single party system and is a precursor or transition to Communism. Now Fascism is something else… Opinions differ but if you do some analysis you may find that it is just an overused, misunderstood, virtually meaningless word which in the most part is used in conversation to describe your political enemy. So if your a socialist, anyone on the right is a fascist. And visa versa.

        I think most of us agree that the spectrum of politics goes like this:

        The political left in all of its forms essentially (to varying extents) want big government, Government control of the economy and a welfare state – in the name of equality for all. (simplistic description yes)

        The political right, mostly known as conservatives, stand for freedom and individuality – the right to have a go, win or lose.. individual rights. Those that create, build, manufacture are rewarded for their hard work and risk.. risk/reward, cost benifit blah blah..

        So in short, the state is in control in left systems, and the individual is in control in the right systems.

        So if you want to look at extremes, extreme left is where you have no freedom. Extreme right is where you might starve because your weak or feeble minded to win.. its the survival of the fittest factor.

        Lets break down the fascism movement… I will use Italy in the 1040’s as an example..

        Government has total control, it opposes democracy, is a single party system, facilitates the bureaucratisation of the economic activities of the nation, and is anti capitalist. In every respect, fascists ACT as if they are communists, but claim to be anti communist.. do what I say,. not what I do. They do show all the classic left traits… without a shadow of doubt. Hitler was a fascist, a national socialist and a marxist.. its all the same, except in the detail. Supreme rule is a political left legacy.,..

        Thats not to say that those on the right are angles, the extreme right are all about survival of the fittest… so people are also hurt, just not directly shot by firing squads.. more like they cannot support themselves so fall into poverty and eventual disease and starvation.

        So a mix of both is ideal.. but for economic growth, prosperity and technological advancement, you must allow the right to prevail with flavors of the left. This is beyond opinion, the world operates as a free market with most countries being on the right side of politics, or at least centre right… those that are on the left side, play the rights game.. look at China.

        Capitalism is, by the way an economic system, not a political ideal. which is how China can exist without having to change their system of government. And if you really want to get nit picky…

        Capitalism does not exist. Mercantilism is closer to the system that the western world has embraced.. the US would be a mixture of Capitalism and Mercantilism… most everywhere else in the western world practices Mercantilism. Essentially where there is free trade, personal ownership but with safety nets built in to protect the weak.

        So now lets look at some evidence.. We agree Europe is leaning towards socialsm, the US is headfing that way too, Australia on the otherhand, we have lived under the well regulated capital system for a long time now, our growth has been astonishing.. mostly thanks to our mining industry. steel, coal, uranium.

        Look at all the social democracies in the world and you will see with out any exeption, failing economies, huge unemployement, massive cost of living, lowered living standards.

        Australia, has enjoyed the opposite over the same time period. Our new PM will change that of course, he is determined to destroy our economy.

        So why have we survived the global melt down? Its not the welfare stimulus that the governments love to brag about…. which by the way has been a monumental failure everywhere except here. But was it the stimulas that saved this country? could it have been givernment intervention?????

        Well, as a socialist you’d say yes, but if you look at the numbers, they say:

        National Imports are down – cash burn has been reduced. we saved more.
        National exports are up – not a sign of our economy performing, more a sign of the buyer of those exports economy. in our case, china.
        We are having a mining and resources boom – specifically to China…

        We still have a great way of life, our cost of living is still low, unemployment is low, all the indicators of a strong economy are evident in ours. despite this governments meddling.

        our stimulus according to the official figures, only accounted for 2.5% of our growth last fiscal year. It was the market that prevailed – not the government.

        Or in your words McBob – Corporate Fascism.

        I’ll take fascism any day 🙂 But seriously, China is responsible for this mess, not the so called consumers.. if you sold a guy a gun, that guy went on to shoot someone dead, are you the one responsible, or is the guy holding the gun? You cannot blame the consumer, for the woes that china suffers, it is their country and will do with it what they choose.

        Sorry for my rant.. but i was enjoying it way to much to stop!

    • Gunthy says:

      yeah! youy heart goes out… you seem to be short minded! and live in wonderland.
      (read the folowing text, and try to read stuf about the world too)

      Try to buy something that is made exclusively in your country, the price is probably high.
      You probably have a PC or a Laptop in your hands that was relatively cheap, just because it was made there, in china.

      Almost all the things you can Buy have something made there, and then you buy, so THIS IS YOUR FAULT TOO, dont wash your hands.

      Why are most of the american brands producing cloths and stuff there? why is it cheaper? BECAUSE SOME ONE IS PAYING THE DIFERENCE

    • James says:

      Despite Gunthy’s grammar and spelling fail, he or she is right. 1st world nations facilitate this. Those in power in China might be being doing this consciously (which is abhorrent) but North America and Europe are benefiting from it just as consciously. Our economy is built on other countries’ willingness to exploit their citizens for cheap labour in the worst possible conditions.
      What’s worse is the savings made off of these exploitations barely even reach the average consumer (not that that would make it okay) but are used to line the already formidable pockets of our corporate rulers. This isn’t socialism OR democracy, this is all Capitalism. Dress it how you will, when the government does less to protect the people than it’s personal interests, that’s what it is. Where are the regulations? The environmental protection laws, or the protection of freedoms? In both true socialism and true democracy it is the governments role to protect the people. That’s not what is happening here.
      If you want to make a difference speak out about it, get involved. Learn the issue and make a statement. At least in North America and Europe we can still do that. In China you can lose your life just for trying.
      As a closing note, Nadir, you’re an idiot. Convictions that strong should be reserved for those who care enough to learn the issue. You’re just babbling nonsense. Please read a book or something.

      • 777 says:

        Like you said, “If you want to make a difference speak out about it, get involved. Learn the issue and make a statement.”

        my question is how are you/they/people going to make the difference? Not all people out there really care much about.

        Maybe SOME people tries to help but that wouldn’t do much different to save the earth…Since we need a lot of people to cooperate in order to make the earth a better place.

        So once again my question is how will people be able to pull other people to help and what would they have to do when it is time for action?

      • David Hewison says:

        erm james, true socialism or communism only exists in theory, it cannot exist in practice because both ideals do not take into account human nature.

        marxism, according to his philosophy is, i think very attractive. in reality though, impossible.

    • AGB says:

      Seriously Nadir? You think this is socialism or communism? This is capitalism.

    • Douglas Barnes says:

      This is industrialism, regardless of the ideological banner it carries. Having worked in India for a short while, I can assure you that egregious environmental destruction goes on in economies that organise in a capitalistic manner as well.

    • Grassroot says:

      It is really sad that you waste this opportunity to connect as humans. I see a real problem in China and in the rest of the world with making a great big mess of things. How do we get together and express loudly and to the people who make the deals and decisions that we value clean water and breathable air? What organizations are already doing this? Which ones do you love and support? Do you even know which US environmental organizations are active in China? Do you know about the All China Environment Federation? Have you heard of the China Blue Papers? We really have to start supporting the environmental heroes here and there who are struggling tirelessly with scant resources to do something to turn this thing around. I challenge you to take a guess at how many 1)grassroots, 2)foreign, 3)student, 4)government organized nongovernmental organizations that focus on the environment there are in China presently. Contact even one and give just ten dollars to them. Give through the Pacific Environment And Resource Center, or Give2Asia, or Greenpeace. Go see Grantmakers Without Boarders. Make the connection! Please.

    • sammy says:

      This is not socialism. This is capitalism.

  33. shannon says:

    holy shite, this is terrible, can’t comprehend the negative quality of life these people are living everyday

  34. Charlotte White says:

    this is not socialism this is CAPITALISM fool!
    a true socialist society works for the good of the people. this is not the good of the people. the creation of these destructive forces, factories, cheap labor, low regulations are all a direct manifestation of a capitalist market.

    • Actually, this is the direct result unregulated, robber-baron capitalism.

      Be it noted that state enterprises in the former soviet union and eastern bloc countries also polluted on this sort of scale with zero accountability. While there are certainly VAST problems in the west, these stem in large part from the poor choices of consumers.

  35. Cam Nguyen says:

    The force driving the companies to pollute the planet to hell and disregard the well being of human beings is CAPITALISM. In order to secure the most profit possible, corners have to be cut and the well being of the planet and humanity ignored. It’s much easier and cost efficient to simply dump waste into the ocean than to process it, recycle it, and then finally neutralize the rest of it.

    And plus you need to ask, what are those factories making? Products. Products sold in obscene amounts to the United States of America. Capitalism funds these kinds of operations. In fact it’s very likely that American Corporations OWN quite a few of these factories, I mean, everything nowadays is shipped overseas to be done right? Shipped overseas by Americans who know that it’s cheaper to get work done in China when you can increase profit by cutting every ethical corner. Treat employees like crap, dump waste outside, and pay workers next to nothing. They wouldn’t dare do business like that here because we “oh so righteous Americans” would be outraged. But hey. We’re all stuck in our own little world called the USA, and as long as it doesn’t affect us, it’s A-OKAY. Oh wait, the environment is a global thing? Oh dang. Too bad I’m too busy trying to make ends meet to care what happens to the world.

    And please. Don’t confuse socialism, which is an absolutely beautiful ideological concept that has not been accomplished yet due to human moral flaws. To communism, which, from examples throughout history, we know tends to lean towards oppression and totalitarianism.

    • KH says:

      I believe it is communism that is the ideological concept which still remains out of reach … socialism is just a working implementation that has achieved much success, while ‘Communist’ countries such as China are not truly communist.

      I think the term was mentioned above … plutocracy?

    • C says:

      Western companies are not allowed to have majority ownership in Chinese enterprises. At best they can have 49.99%.

      Chinese are doing this to themselves. But life has always been cheap in China — whether under Maoism or now.

  36. Sue says:

    This is unbelievable. I knew China had no regard for “green” ideals but didn’t think anything could be that bad. I will read every label when shopping and not buy Chinese products.
    I will pass this link on to many friends and hope to get more doing the same…share this link people….we can make a difference.

    • Gunthy says:

      Just because It does’t say “Made in china” it does’t mean some part of it wasn’t made there.
      Its Impossible to buy some thing that is not related to some factory there.
      Even some vegetables that a local farmer sells. (The tools or chemicals used may have been made there, even the bag, or simply the metal used in coins)

      There is no here and there no more, you too have blood in your hands, and will have to live with that!!!

    • Ryan says:

      while the pollution may be terrible and drastic measures needs to be taken to enhance their quality of life, boycotting chinese products is not the answer. These people work in places like this for many reasons, one of the main ones being that this is the only way for them to make money. Were everyone in the world to boycott the products of these factories then they would shut down (or be replaced) and while that may reduce the pollution, it also reduces what little income is coming to that area to nothing. Then they will die of starvation (among other things resulting from a lack of money).
      there are other, better avenues to pursue if you would like to help this situation including writing to your senator (although lets be honest, that really does nothing) or dedicating your life, kinda like a mother teresa or ghandi, to bringing about change in China (fat chance anyone will do that but its a nice thought).
      unfortunately, and im obviously pessimistic about it, taking advantage of other people is well, human nature, and it will always be happening somewhere (notice how slavery has always been around somewhere in the world). be thankful it isn’t happening to you in this extreme

  37. Charlie says:

    I lived in Zhuhai, Guangdong near Hong Kong for 7 months. It was a residential city mostly, but the extreme pollution in the water and air that comes from all over China made me so ill I had to leave. By my 3rd month, I couldn’t remember anything, some days I was dizzy from some odd thing in the air, etc. Zhuhai is known all over China as the nicest city in China, and even there I was sick as a dog.

    Anyway, I got the heck out of there and came back to the US. A year later, a friend of mine from the US who stayed there wound up with brain cancer from the toxic environment.

    We’re in a closed system. China is screwing up the world. They’ll never change though. The Chinese are some short-sighted money hungry idiots. The only ray of hope in all of this, is that they’ll poison themselves to death and it’ll stop. The industrialists and the politicians all have to drink water and breathe air. It’ll eventually get them too. Hopefully sooner than later.

    • Gunthy says:

      their factories suply the ocidental factories who are there, no environmental or worker care means cheaper products that you buy… you are the money-hungry.
      Try to buy USA things, All made there, made is not assembled! I mean all american stuff (If that still exists!) and then tell me if your money does’t get short… as your mind.

      If its cheaper… some one is payig the diference!

  38. Tibby says:

    Socialism cares about it’s people.
    Capitalism cares about it’s customers – it’s people.
    Fascism cares only about privileged and the rich.

    People make profits off of people’s health only where they are allowed to by corrupt governments. If china wasn’t fascist but it was capitalist, capitalists would find that it is more profitable to serve the needs of the billions in china and make money by providing them with wellbeing.

  39. J H says:

    we are the western consumers and the capitalist who buys cheap china products and we are the driving force for this kind of consuming insanity!Dont buy this kind of crap and try to live without chinese products and the world has a hope.The only way to save nature is activity witch reduces consuming and productivity

  40. It saddens me to see this , What will china do to help stop there CO2 emissions after seeing this i hold little hope and of course theres india which im sure is no better ,, India,s population by the year 2040 is expected 1.52 billion and will surpase china,s 1.45 billion thats 2,970,000,000 people in two countrys? 31year!

  41. David Wu says:

    This has nothing to do with the political system. India is the world’s biggest democratic , yet the polution situation could be as bad as in China. Blaming is not productive, we should help the chinese people and government to deal with these problems.

    • Gunthy says:

      Democratic? India? not he same country…
      Our demand for cheap things… is making some one to pay the diference… even if they are away in china or other country.

      • 777 says:

        On the other hand~ what will happen to the people who does not have enough money to buy certain items. Not to mention it’s not only cheap things that make them suffer it’s how china decide where they put their wastes. Sure, we are part of the cause, but even if we stop~ do you think china will stop? it wont, it will find other ways to do business and once again it’s going to start polluting again.

  42. Alexandra says:

    This is hell on earth! I’m sure the Chinese people would have gladly skipped their industrial revolution. Don’t their leaders care about human rights? Do they have any guidelines at all?

    • RobinHood says:

      It´s not only the chinese leaders who don´t care about human rights. We western people may judge what they do but still we buy their products. I think we western people don´t have care about human rights since we don´t actually do anything to solve this mess. WE allow chinese to act as they act. We´re ass guilty as they are.

  43. Lili says:

    …not many… and as they say in China: rules and road signs are very similar… both are simply suggestions.

  44. Think for yourself says:

    Dont jump to conlusions and hasty decisions and think that you are a better man just because of your opinions.
    Please, dont think that a dozen of photos can give you any sort of reliable or objective piece of information.

    ..and of course question authority.
    (i.e. why photoshop is so desperately used in producing these photos,
    is someone interested in your attitude.
    A part of you are developing hatred feelings, which borders fear, which borders ..war?)

  45. mundo says:

    All these polluting factories are producing goods consumed in the USA. We are the other half of the problem.

  46. Western says:

    This isn’t the cost of the Chinese communism (which ain’t communism). This is the cost of our cheap products here in the West. Chinese people and nature suffers because of our (and their too) society.

    Just like the wars in Kongo, which keeps the price of cobalt low for our rechargers and stuff. And the West have been funding both sides in the past, and I don’t have any reason to believe they will change their acts in the future.

  47. Robert says:

    I suppose the Soviet Union was a “capitalist” country as well.

    I wonder why we don’t see pollution levels like this in the capitalist U.S.A if capitalism in the bringer of these environmental woes? The answer is that it isn’t. The problem isn’t socialism or capitalism but rather the closed and restrictive nature of the Chinese political system. A nation that is based in governance by its people can make policy that restricts this kind of environmental destruction. A nation that is run by state oligarchs that capitalize on industrial efforts doesn’t need to be responsive to the desires and needs of its people.

    That is why you don’t see this kind of environmental destruction in either the capitalist U.S.A or the socialist E.U. Both respond to the will of their populations.

    • Gunthy says:

      yeah! you dont see that in US because you don’t look enough… there are some “litle issues” there too.
      Try to buy something that is made exclusively in the U.S.A the price is high.
      You probably have a PC or a Laptop in your hands that was relatively cheap, just because it was made there, in china.

      Almost all the things you can Buy have something made there, and then you buy, so THIS IS YOUR FAULT TOO, dont wash your hands.

      Why are most of the american brands producing cloths and stuff there? why is it cheaper? BECAUSE SOME ONE IS PAYING THE DIFERENCE

      • Taojas says:

        No – Something. CHINA’S ENVIRONMENT. These photos cleary tell you truth of the matter – it’s the natural environment i.e. lakes, rivers, the ocean, etc… which is paying the difference and then by default the humans who work and exist in that environment.

        “and then you buy, so THIS IS YOUR FAULT TOO”
        Ridiculous claptrap. By your “logic” an unknowing consumer somewhere else in the world is responsible for pollution in China. Similar to saying the Chinese Mothers who used so much milk powder were responsible for Sanlu adulterating the product with Melamine to meet their irresponsible demand for cheap milk powder. Draw that bow a bit longer and your at the stance of every german in WW2 was responsible for the holocaust.

      • 777 says:

        When you say, “THIS IS YOUR FAULT TOO, don’t wash your hands” doesn’t that mean you are also in fault as well?

        It isn’t about who’s fault is it on, it is about how are we/people going to solve this problem? how are we/people going to save the people who are suffer and also to prevent anymore misery in the future.

    • John says:

      Go back 100 years to 1909, and you will see pollution like that in the US. We emptied sewage into our lakes and rivers, factories and power plants filled the air with smoke, disease was rampant in cities. It was so bad the rivers caught on fire. Want to see it in the EU? Go back 150 years or more to Industrial Revolution-era London, where the smoke was so think it blotted out the sun at noon. What happened? The same unrestrained capitalism that created the problem created the solution (with a healthy assist from progressive movements and government reforms) – the standard of living was raised high enough so that people in cities moved beyond the subsistance-living level. With enough money, people began to demand change; this lead to reforms such as the minimum wage, pollution controls and restrictions on child labor.

      China faces the same challenges, with two additional problems: they have 1.3 billion people at the same stage of their development that the US had 100 million at, and they are ruled by an oligarchical-single party system that is less responsive to change then our democratic system was/is. However, China also has advantages that we lacked at that point in our development. While the US came of age in a world isolated by distance and protectionist economies, China is a major player in a global economy that tends, however gradually, towards free trade and the exchange of ideas and technology. This, along with new technologies in areas such as polution control, public health and power generation, along with a world looking to make money by helping China modernize/clean up, give China a very good chance to one day look more like the US or EU. It will take decades of heartache, political upheaval and social change, it will happen.

      • KH says:

        This is the most comprehensive opinion I’ve read as of now. @Gunthy, you had a point at first, which is that the difference is paid by someone/something else. It’s the people who are working at such places, and yes, as @Taojas mentioned it’s nature that’s paying the price.

        @John: terribly optimistic, but we should hold on to this and bring hope to the rest of the world..

      • David Hewison says:

        Well said John, a rare voice of reason…

  48. Random bird says:

    Re: joey1058

    …nice idea in principle, however I really think you need to understand the currency involved here. Eg. A factory worker earns around 200-400HK$ which is about £20-40GBP a month. Can you imagine caring for your family on that amount a month??…but it’s all relative. These workers live by very simple unmaterialistic means. Rather than be humbled by their existence perhaps we should take a leaf from their book?

    Thus, the suggestion of Chinese businessmen buying factories in the US is a ridiculous notion. They simply would not be able to afford it. The factories you see are probably run by one man or one family, who are considered rich in relation to the other folks in town, but on a global scale, they too are relatively poor.

  49. Random bird says:

    Re: joey1058

    …nice idea in principle, however I really think you need to understand the currency involved here. Eg. A factory worker earns around 200-400HK$ which is about £20-40GBP a month. Can you imagine caring for your family on that amount a month??…but it’s all relative. These workers live by very simple unmaterialistic means. Rather than be humbled by their existence perhaps we should take a leaf from their book?

    Thus, the suggestion of Chinese businessmen buying factories in the US is a ridiculous notion. They simply would not be able to afford it. The factories you see here are probably run by one man or one family, who are considered rich in relation to the other folks in town, but on a global scale, they too are relatively poor.

    You need to look outside HK central to grasp the concept I’m hinting at here, these pictures are great but nothing really new is being reflected here in the outer territories of china and HK and I’m really glad they are effective in opening peoples minds to the ‘bigger picture’.

    In all seriousness though, step outside yr USA fed ‘comfort zone’ yr vision is unrealistic and sugar coated.

    • Cain says:

      I like your twist: Everyone wants to pity the Chinese for the conditions they live in but besides the point you look at their simplistic life style and lack of need for things and see something admonishable in that… I respect that.. thank you for that perspective!

  50. Gunthy says:

    there is more guilty in all of us here saying that its a political issue!
    We all buy things from china or that some part of it has came from there.

    THIS IS OUR FAULT! we demand cheap things, some one has to pay the price.

    If they payed and treated well the workers and the environment we could’t have, PC’s, parts for cars, shoes and cloths, and all a bunch of things so cheap.

    Dont wash your hands, and say that this does’t happens in “civilized countries”! if it does’t its because the factories are’t there, and the prices must be low.

    Try To Think! before saying brutal and disonest things whith some xenofobic background!

  51. Random bird says:

    re: joey1058

    …nice idea in principle however I really feel you need to grasp the level of currency here. eg. a factory worker earns around 200-400HK$ per month, which is about £20-40GBP. Can you imagine caring for your family on that amount per month???…but that said, its all relative. These workers live simple, ‘UN-MATERIALISTIC’ lives. Rather than feel humbled by their existence, perhaps we should all take a leaf from their book???…

    Thus, your notion of Chinese businessmen buying factories in the US is ridiculous. They simply would not be able to afford it. The factories depicted here are more than likely owned by one man or one family, which in relation to their towns and villages, are considered quite rich, however on a global scale, are still relatively poor.

    Look outside the parameters of the larger media publications who focus on HK Central as the main focus of China & Hong Kong and you will soon realise that these pictures are not really ‘anything new’. Life in the outer territories of China has been like this for sometime and infact, growth in these areas is actually improving qualities of life all the time.

    Im glad these pictures are making people see the ‘bigger picture’…but seriously, take your self out of your USA spoon fed comfort zone. Your visions are unrealistic.

    Please take this in the manner it was meant (un-offensive), I sat where you are today several years ago.

  52. M.Vijayalakshmi says:

    The pictures are harrowing to say the least. But one can shoot such pictures in any country and certainly so in countries like India and China. To grow and feed and give employment to big populations there has to be industrial growth and one looks silly longing and wanting the pristine pure and the pastoral in the face of this reality. It can not be anybody’s case that a country is ignoring the perils of pollution for its own people because of a political ideology or a system of govt unless it practices a policy segregating populations in terms of exposure to health hazards. It was not too long ago that China was praised for delivery of heath care to its people.
    Today all one sees is Chinese products in the N.American continent And people buy them as they are cheap. I wonder if any environment norms are applicable while importing from China… I recall the event of a Western ban on carpet imports from India because it involved child labour.[ And this overllooked the fact that this family -based skill was passed on to childern as a tradition.] At the end of it all excess and manipulated consumption has to come down and this can only be by a movement of the people.

    • KH says:

      Yes, we need more people with different perspectives (such as @Vijayalakshmi) on this to complete the puzzle … but as to whether or not anything will be done, photo exhibitions like this one will be a great help in reminding others of the atrocities we (the world) are committing against ourselves now.

      Maybe at some point there will be a reaction other than commenting on blog posts … I believe the best way to do this is to start small, encourage recycling and reduce our impact on the environment. Hopefully as a result there will be a shift towards cleaner technologies and everyone will benefit. (Gross oversimplification, I know, but I’m late for class :P)

  53. COSMOE says:

    keep buying china made products and you only make it worse.

  54. Justin says:

    Political labels are irrelevant, even distracting to this discussion. These pictures are the result of the system that doesn’t respect basic individual rights, regardless of the political flavor of the ruling class.

  55. Venus says:

    Hi guys!

    It seems you are talking about issues of global matter and let me say that I am not from the USA! I just wanted to tell you that the root of all the problems of our society weather you think they are poverty, hunger, environment issues or all of them, is money. The current monetary system in which we all live in, is an outdated system and it is this system that is resbonsible of almost all the problems of our society today.

    There is a solution and it is called Resource-Based Economy. Google “The Venus Project” to learn more.


  56. queenie says:

    “that the root of all the problems of our society weather you think they are poverty, hunger, environment issues or all of them, is money”


  57. Finland says:

    :'( This is so sad to watch. I feel so sorry for those thousands of people who needs to live there… And I can’t get it that why China, as a one of the worlds biggest country won’t do anything about it… Go ppl! Show these pictures to Barack Obama, I bet he would feel same way we do…

  58. Justin says:

    And I thought I was an idealist! I agree with Venus that money is a major component of the problem, whether it’s the symptom or the disease (or a little of both) I’m not sure. But my interpretation is that, at least for us in the US (and most other developed economies), fiat money is the problem, not the existence of money to begin with. Economies since the beginning of time have moved to a commodity based currency of some kind or the other… the problems arise when governments are allowed to debase currencies and eventually print them out of thin air. Your Venus Project to me seems to be yet another attempt to put a pretty face on Communism… and like all previous attempts at it, ideal though they may initially be, human nature always wins.

    • Venus says:

      I know that The Venus Project may seem like all out communism at first, when you study it further it will turn out to be something VERY different. When mister Fresco (the director of The Venus Project) was asked: How does The Venus Project Compare with Communism? He said:

      “Communism being similar to a resource-based economy or The Venus Project is an erroneous concept. Communism has money, banks, armies, police, prisons, charismatic personalities, social stratification, and is managed by appointed leaders. The Venus Project’s aim is to surpass the need for the use of money. Police, prisons and the military would no longer be necessary when goods, services, healthcare, and education are available to all people. The Venus Project would replace politicians with a cybernated society in which all of the physical entities are managed and operated by computerized systems. The only region that the computers do not operate or manage is the surveillance of human beings. This would be completely unnecessary and considered socially offensive. A society that uses technology without human concern has no basis of survival. Communism has no blueprint or methodology to carry out their ideals and along with capitalism, fascism, and socialism, will ultimately go down in history as failed social experiments.”

      And what comes to your calim about “human nature always winning” I want to challenge you to think that there is no human nature, there is human behaviour. Please study the website of The Venus Project to learn more about this issue as well.

  59. ustcbbs says:

    I found most comments here advocated to not buy Chinese products. I understand these western people are thinking of ways to stop the pollution. However, it is too naive. I don’t think most people can resist cheap Chinese products. Pursuing interest is human’s nature (see the Expected Utility model on decision-making first proposed by Daniel Bernoulli in 1738).

    @John gave us a comprehensive interpretation on what happened in western countries and is happening in China. History is a mirror. High-speed development and pollution always precedes the reforms for controlling pollution. But we should behave more wisely. The developed countries can do something to control the pollution in the developing countries before the latter become rich enough. For example, as a neighbor of China, Japan should take the lead. Japanese government should consider to create some enterprises in China specific for pollution control. The Europe and US should also reach a hand. Some people defined Capitalism in the older comment. You Capitalism countries should care the major customers nowadays and future–not only people in your own system but also Chinese people.

    China has 1.3 billion customers. Trust me! It is more profitable to serve the needs of the billions in china and make money by providing them with wellbeing. So why not investing pollution control in China right away?! China is still very lacking high-technology. Don’t be cheated by what you see in Beijing, Shanghai. The vast poor regions in China represent China mainly.

  60. Justin says:

    Welfare is not the answer. It doesn’t work domestically and it hasn’t worked in Africa, why would it work in China? Without a respect for individual property rights I’m not sure where the incentive for pollution control is. Without a sound monetary system and with the Chinese still buying US debt and pegging their currency to ours, the US can continue with the massive trade imbalance buying cheap imported goods and exporting our inflation to China. Eventually it will end, it’s too bad the average Chinese has to suffer for it.

    • ustcbbs says:

      Common Chinese and western people cannot affect Chinese government at all. This is not a era when people like violent revolution. Chinese politics is like a cancer patient. It realizes the danger of corruption, but it just cannot heal itself. In the late 1940s, the previous KMT President Chiang Kai-shek talked to his son about corruption, “If we reform to control the corruption, then KMT will be over; if we don’t reform, then the country will be over.” Sixty years pasted, the new China encounters the same problem. It’s not a good idea to count on any effective reform in the near future including the respect for individual property rights and human rights. But I believe China is improving its politics slowly, and I already see its gradual changes in recent years.

      What I mean in my last post is to encourage the developed countries have their own pollution-controlling enterprises in China. So China will keep developing both economically and politically, meanwhile the pollution is under control.

      • Justin says:

        I think your first sentence is probably very accurate. “Buy Local” and “Buy American” are all fine and dandy if you can afford to do either. If you are a low income family, you will continue to buy low cost products and no one can say that’s a bad idea. For those of you who want to force choices on consumers, the only way to do it reliably is through price. And the best way to let prices reach a natural equilibrium is through a sound monetary system with hard currency.

        It almost seemed like China’s desire to be on the top of the world stage and the shame that the Olympics caused regarding pollution were doing more than any market incentives could… but people have short memories, so shame is a poor tool for reform.

  61. NATTA VIADO says:



  62. This is a massive travesty. Absolutely horrifying. I hope the Chinese government and the world wakes up to this awful reality or more lives will be destroyed or lost. My God, what a nightmare.

  63. T-white says:

    Who cares if it is capitalism, socialism, or communism? You should care that people have to suffer like this, regardless of where it comes from. If people stopped being self righteous maybe, just maybe, it would change. This, along with so many other horrifying things, will happen no matter what government is in place. What the problem really is are selfish, spoiled, stubborn people that are willing to put others through this, PERIOD.

  64. spoon says:

    No, this is not capitalism, this is the reality of socialism (not the idealistic theory) that tries to employ the concept of capitalism for the gain of the corrupt communist regime. China realizes that in order to compete with the west–and subsequently line their pockets with the cash–that they must produce items cheaply. Thus they cut corners, pollute, mandate, ignore consequences, etc. etc. all for the “greater good” of the people. The problem lies with the fact that those most affected by this have little if any say in the process. Capitalism is not a political concept, it is an economic one, and can be and invariably is adopted by any political ideal (see China/Socialism/Communism(now capitalistic) and USA/Democracy/Capitalism for the extreme examples). The difference is that in a system where the democracy is supposed to be pure (communism), power resides almost completely at the top and thus is near complete corruption. What this has done is that it has exposed our mature democracy here in the US as we already have the regulations in place to protect the people, which were voted on by the people the way a democracy is supposed to work. In turn this adds cost to our products and makes them uncompetitive with the Chinese products. Does that mean that their method of government is more desirable? Absolutely not, and although it may progress slowly I think you will soon begin to see the people of China start to demand the democratic reforms that their new found wealth will empower. And it is interesting to note that as our own government moves closer to the reality of socialism (not the ideal), how the corruption has become much more pervasive in the institutions of both the government and business we own. Freedom is something we should not take for granted, it can often be fleeting and when neglected and disregarded just might go away. It is interesting to note that if I were to express something like this in China, it is likely that I would go to prison…for a very long time if not forever.

  65. China is just like every other developing nation. If they can get away with polluting unpunished they will. It’s got nothing to do with Communism, its just the price of doing business with business people more interested in profits, bribes and power. Don’t fool yourself, you probably buy products from these companies, re-branded and marketed to wealthy nations. Buy local, thats the only sustainable way to keep this planet alive.

  66. Steven Ong (Malaysia) says:

    Well done Mr. Photographer, This is only a very small part of our Lovely Blue planet pollution
    It does not stop,here,,,,,least you are honest what is happening in China (corner)
    Wake up,,all the hidden so,,call Develop Countries,,,,,,Same lovely shit all sweep under the carpets… Now you know why we have big,,Shit with our climate problem,ha!!!!!!God made !
    Ehh,?…..All so call Rich superman,,,,,wait for your your grand children turn to face this music. Oh,YES,,,,,,I wanna keep all this money for my future generation,,,,Good Luck
    The True fact about our world leader meeting,,,,,,,,,,,for green house effect,,,,,is just a tea, and beers parties,,,,,Are they very serious about they backyard.,ha!!!!!!after the wine and beers,,,,,oh,,,,,,,,,We have forgotten of that,,,,,,,Sorry cure all….
    Our lovely humans,,,,,in every countries,,,,,,should be educated,,,,to STOP .more productions
    All this Pollution ,came from our Lovely Humans DEMAND,,,,Yes,we need more,and more…..

  67. Ken says:

    This isn’t about any kind of ‘ism’. It’s about making money. There were parts of the US that looked like this when we were a developing nation. Go read “The Jungle”. Or look up some photos of Pittsburgh or other steel-making cities back in the 40’s and 50’s.

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