Ups and downs of China's rustbelt in focus

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/10/11 18:38:41

While people in the rustbelt of China's northeast are looking into the future, photographer Wang Yuwen is tending to the past.

Wang, 69, took tens of thousands of photos over the past 40 years, chronicling glory, gloom and hopes in the old industrial heartland of the Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces. An exhibition of Wang's work was held at the 17th China Pingyao International Photography Festival in late September.

The region enjoyed decades of prosperity until the late 1970s. A campaign led by the central government in 2003 helped it regain some steam. However, fettered by a legacy of central planning, the region has lagged behind again since 2013.

"The old heavy industries made tremendous contributions to New China. Numerous workers gave their lives to the cause. We should remember that," Wang said.

Born into a family of miners in Liaoning where most of his photos were taken, Wang has a special bond with those who made their living underground. "My grandfather, father and sisters all worked in the mines," he said. Many of his photos depict life and death in the mines.

Other photos include one showing pedicabs driven by a former miner in Liaoning crossing trolley rails and another of children playing on rails overgrown with grass.

In 2016, the central government began a new effort to rejuvenate the area through industrial restructuring. It hopes to redevelop the region into a base for advanced equipment manufacturing and raw materials.

Posted in: ART

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