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Dying to Breathe

by Sim Chi Yin / VII Photo Agency

Deep in the landlocked rural heartland of China, Sim Chi Yin documented a gold miner’s slow death due to “Black Lung”, the disease known as pneumoconiosis. Pneumoconiosis is contracted from the lungs’ exposure to dust from drilling and it hardens the worker’s lung tissue over time, making it harder and harder to breathe. Her important work puts faces to the unnamed Chinese workers the disease is quietly killing. Pneumoconiosis is China’s most prevalent occupational disease, affecting at least 6 million workers, and is still a problem in other mining countries like South Africa as well as making a comeback in the US, UK and Australia. This project was supported by grants from the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting.