Beijing Besieged by Waste (Wei Cheng La Ji)

WANG Jiuliang, China (2011)

Documentary, 72 minutes. Mandarin w/ English subtitles

“Wang Jiuliang was the first to expose the city’s little-known Seventh Ring Zone garbage dumps.” – Liu Jingsong, Time

Photographer Wang Jiu-liang travels to more than 500 landfills, fearlessly documenting Beijing’s unholy cycle of consumption through poignant observational visits with the scavengers who live and work in the dumps.

While China’s economic ascent commands global attention, less light has been shed upon the monumental problem of waste spawned by a burgeoning population, booming industry, and insatiable urban growth.

Award-winning photographer Wang Jiuliang focuses his lens upon the grim spectacle of waste, excrement, detritus, and rubble unceremoniously piled upon the land surrounding the China’s Olympic city, capital, and megalopolis, Beijing.

Eking out a dangerous living within are the scavengers, mostly migrant workers from the countryside, who struggle to uphold familial and cultural systems amid their occupation’s Dickensian bleakness.

Wang renders the decimation of once-essential rivers and farmlands in the backdrop of gleaming high-speed trains, stadiums, and skyscrapers; the sinister cyclical pattern of construction’s consumption and garbage, and moving images of the daily lives of scavengers who labor at their own risk.

Director’s Bio:
Wang Jiu-liang was born in Anqiu, in the Shandong Province of China in 1976. An artist and a filmmaker, he graduated from the Communication University of China and works as a freelance photographer based in Beijing. From 2007 to 2008, he created the photography series China’s Traditions in Worshiping Gods and Spirits. Wang has been engaged in the investigation into garbage pollution surrounding Beijing since 2008.


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