I often cover humanitarian subjects and stories about the environment.
I couldn’t help but buy myself a camera when, as a text reporter for the army, I covered the catastrophic floods that caused havoc in China in the summer of 1998. I found that photography was a really powerful tool in reporting disaster.
In 2003 I was working for the Quanzhou Evening News, and I got the chance to travel with former Chinese premier Zhu Rongji’s delegation as he visited Fujian. I took a picture of him smiling as he played the Erhu, a traditional Chinese instrument, and an officer from the propaganda department advised me not to publish it. I liked the photo too much to listen to him. The picture caused a big reaction online in China, and I was fired by the newspaper because of its popularity and my disobedience.
I was excited by a feature story I shot at a big shark-meat processing base in Puqi, eastern China. The scene I found inside the factory was shockingly brutal and after managing to take some pictures, I was chased out of town by a local gang member. Even after I finished the assignment, I could still feel the fear under my skin.
My biggest lesson has been that to make a good picture you have to be yourself, rather than just follow what others do.
I would like to carry on taking pictures that help people see the world more clearly. And I hope that my photos make people stop and think, and give them some cause for introspection.