Award-Winning Photojournalist Taken Away By The Chinese National Security For Derogatory Depiction Of China Through His Pics

Raising your voice against authority is inviting the wrath of those in power. Once such outspoken critic of China is Lu Guang, an award-winning photojournalist. He has published pics depicting the suffering of the Chinese people due to drug addiction, HIV, unhygienic conditions and the like, as also the environmental rape at the hands of big industries.

This obviously didn’t go down well with those in power and one fine day this photographer was found missing. According to Guang’s wife, Xu Xiaoli, she hasn’t heard from her husband since November 3, 2018. As per his itinerary, Guang was to fly to Urumqi, Xinjiang’s capital, on October 23 for some photography events and further on to Sichuan to participate in a charity event as also to meet his friend Chen.

When Guang failed to contact Chen, he immediately contacted Xu about his whereabouts. Xu was clueless, but she immediately contacted the wife of whoever had invited Guang to Urumqi. It came as an utter shock to her, when she found that both Guang and his host have been taken away by the national security. This was later confirmed by local officers in Guang’s hometown, Zhejiang.


Image Via: Xiaoli11032018

Till date, nothing is known about Guang’s fate. According to Xu, she has not received any notice of his arrest. In fact, she has even been unable to get through to Xinjiang police despite her repeated attempts. Xu wrote on Twitter, “…it’s our 20th wedding anniversary (falling next week). We should be celebrating it together. I can only hope for his safe return.”

It is speculated that this may be the result of Xinjiang’s dealing with an iron hand the growing radicalism among the ethnic Uighur Muslim community, what with its tight security controls and heavy surveillance. And anybody criticizing the government’s action or presenting negative stories about China is detained.

Guang came on the wrong side of the law for speaking out his mind in an interview last year, when he stated, “The reality in China is you never know if you’re going to get into trouble because there are no written rules.” He further incensed the authorities when his photographs exposed ‘AIDS villages’, where out of 3,000 people, 678 people got infected with HIV after selling their blood. Of these 200 have died. To top it all, these pics also won at the 2004 World Press Photo competition. 

Efforts are on to force China to disclose Guang’s whereabouts. Taking the initiative is Cédric Alviani, Director, East Asia Bureau of Reporters Without Border, who has called on China to not only disclose Guang’s whereabouts, but also “guarantee journalists’ freedom of movement and security, including Xinjiang Province.”


Worker in Wuhai City, Inner Mongolia. April 10, 2005. Image credits: Lu Guang

A heavy truck carrying coal and lime drives away, causing dust to fly and harming the nearby residents. Image credits: Lu Guang

Eleven-year-old Xu Li of Hutsou is diagnosed with bone cancer. Image credits: Lu Guang

Children also live in the industrial district. China is now the world’s second-largest economy. Its economic development has consumed lots of energy and generated plenty of pollution. Image credits: Lu Guang

On 16 July 2010, the pipeline of the Newport Oil Wharf of Dalian Bay exploded, sending lots of oil into the sea. Many fishing boats were assigned to clean up the oil contamination for 8,150 times. Image credits: Lu Guang

A woman carrying her severely ill grandson implores the sky to prevent the devil of pain returning. Image credits: Lu Guang

Disabled orphans adopted by charitable farmers. Image credits: Lu Guang

Children with cerebral palsy licks milk powder off a bed to feed. Image credits: Lu Guang

Laseng Temple has an over 200-year-old history, which includes the study of Mongolian medicines. It was seriously polluted by the surrounding factories, so few pilgrims go there now. Image credits: Lu Guang

The Baotou Steel plant dumps mineral processing sewage into the tailings dam. Image credits: Lu Guang

h/t: Boredpanda

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Written by Deepak Mehla

Graphics Designer, Seeking A Job.

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