Dying to Breathe—A Short Film Shows China’s True Cost of Gold

Sim Chi Yin
Sim Chi Yin

Each time I arrived in Hongjun village after a 12-hour journey by plane, bus, and motorbike, I took deep breaths of the crisp mountain air—as if that could clean out my Beijing-polluted lungs.

It did not take long for the irony to hit me. This alpine landscape in central China is home to hundreds—perhaps thousands—of men too sick to breathe normally.

Once farmers, these men left en masse in the late 1990s to work in gold mines—part of the army of migrant workers who powered China’s economic boom in recent decades. They dug deep into the mountains for treasures. Years later, they came back with the lung disease silicosis, and now wait in their homes for death.

Sim Chi Yin
Sim Chi Yin

Photographer Sim Chi Yin has made portraits of more than 30 former gold miners suffering from silicosis. Pictured holding their chest x-rays, clockwise from top left: Song Dengfa, died 2013; He Quangui, diagnosed with silicosis in 2004; Wang Yiyin, died 2011; She Faxue, died 2012.

Read more at Proof National Geographic:


Story told by Sim Chi Yin

Sim Chi Yin is a photographer based in Beijing, and is a member of VII photo agency. She covers social issues in the region, and has produced photo, video, and multimedia commissions for TIME, the New York Times, The New Yorker, National Geographic, and other major international publications. She was a reporter and foreign correspondent for The Straits Times for nine years before quitting to shoot. She sometimes dreams in mute, black-and-white mode, but in real life is fascinated by color and light.


Chinese dreamer

Sharron Lovell, Tom Wang
Sharron Lovell, Tom Wang

Will the so-called Chinese Dream come true for this 18-year-old from the country’s 260 million migrant workers?

Chinese Dreamer follows the 18-year-old Wanghao as he travels from his rural farm to Beijing to help support his struggling family. A few months later he is there, only to find the big city unwelcoming and realise he has little hope for a future beyond working menial jobs and sending money home. Wanghao dreams of a better life, but with little education and few skills, he struggles to envision something other than difficult, thankless times ahead.

Sharron Lovell, Tom Wang
Sharron Lovell, Tom Wang


Published in Aeon Video which streams contemporary and classic short documentaries, exploring the intersections between nature, culture and ideas. 

Multimedia by Sharron Lovell and Tom Wang.
Sharron Lovell is a visual journalist and educator. Currently based in Beijing, she is also the course leader for a Beijing-based, U.K. accredited Master’s program in Multimedia Journalism.
Tom Wang hails from central China, where he studied multimedia journalism. He has always been a music and film lover and while studying in University discovered documentary film.

Forty Years Post-Khmer Rouge, New Generation Returns to Cambodia

Decades after his parents fled the country following the brutal genocidal Khmer Rouge regime that would ultimately kill an estimated 1.7 million people, Ung left America – and all its comforts – to return to his family’s homeland of Cambodia, a country where poverty is striking, heat unrelenting, and cultural norms sometimes perplexing for those who are unaccustomed.


During and after the nearly four-year Khmer Rouge reign, several hundred thousand Cambodians fled, becoming refugees in faraway countries. In the U.S., many ended up in places like Long Beach, California, or Lowell, Massachusetts. Now, many of children of those who left are returning to their family’s homeland, eager to learn about a country, culture and history that has shaped them since they were born. (Words by Kristi Eaton, Multimedia by Nicolas Axelrod and Thomas Cristofoletti/Ruom/for NBC News)


Nicolas Axelrod and Thomas Cristofoletti are multimedia journalists based in Cambodia and associated with Ruom, an organic collaboration between photographers, journalists, videographers, and researchers, drawn together by a passion for social documentary work. – See more at: http://www.ruom.net/about-us/#sthash.SLWJSABe.dpuf

African Acrobats China

The chance to study abroad is a dream for many students. But it usually requires a lot of money, or an excellent academic record. Fei Ye met one group of students who travelled nearly 10-thousand kilometers to study. But they’re not doing it a conventional school. (by DJ Clark)

DJ Clark has over 20 years experience working with media organisations across the world as a journalist, trainer and multimedia consultant. He is currently Director of Photography for Assignment Asia, a new current affairs program for CCTVNews and a regular video contributor to The Economist. He is also course leader for the MA International Multimedia Journalism at Beijing Foreign Studies University (in collaboration with the University of Bolton, UK) and a lead tutor for the World Press Photo Academy.