A Henan Love Story

Feature Story - 2010-03-22
To mark World Water Day today, award-winning photographer Lu Guang has this love story with a tragic ending.

Qiaoliang loved to put his ear on his wife’s belly and listen to his unborn child.

Zhangyuzhuang is a small village with about 2,000 residents in China's north-central province of Henan.

About 15km upstream from the village is a cluster of factories making paper and chemicals.

In January 2008, two young villagers, Zhang Qiaoliang and Su Yunxia, were married.

The young couple was very much in love. That September, Su Yunxia was pregnant. But just a few months later, in January 2009, Qiaoliang found out he had throat cancer.

He was just 25 years old.

But Qiaoliang was optimistic. He felt cured after surgery, and he and his wife started looking forward to the birth of their new baby.

Qiaoliang loved to put his ear on his wife's belly and listen to his unborn child.

But the tumour in his throat came back. By May, Qiaoliang was dead.

He never saw his son.

"It makes me really sad to see such a young man and a good husband die so young," says environmental photographer Lu Guang, who became a friend of the family and took these series of photos.

"But it's not just Qiaoliang that died.

"In 2008, a 22-year-old mother also died from cancer in the same village.

"In 2007, 47 people died, in 2008, there were 38 people were died and last year 18 died just in the three months from January to March.

"More than 90 percent died from cancer."

This is the reality of China's water pollution.

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