Entertainment

Portraits of Blind Children in Rural China

Photographer Lijie Zhang documents the plight of blind students in China so that more is done to improve their situation.

by Lijie Zhang
Jul 24 2015, 4:00am

Students at the Meng Jie School for the Blind, in Hebei, China, 2014.

Mao Zedong once observed that "the blind are the ones suffering the most in this world," however, the actual reality of blindness is difficult for many people to grasp. Lijie Zhang's Blind Spot photo project aims to fix that by documenting the lives of blind children in rural China.

According to official data, China has about 17 million visually impaired people (both fully blind and low vision), accounting for 18 percent of the world's total blind population. Seventy percent of these people live in rural areas, particularly in the impoverished middle and western parts of the country. Young blind people face especially challenging circumstances. When they reach the age for compulsory education, they are often forced enter special schools, instead of studying alongside their able-bodied counterparts. As a result, they are largely isolated from society.

Through her camera lens, Lijie Zhang captures this predicament with the hope that her images will create awareness for the plight of the blind so that more is done to improve their treatment in China.

Lunch break. Meng Jie School for the Blind, in Hebei, China, 2014.

A pair of beautiful hands needs a little trim. Personal hygiene standards have to be lowered because of the inconvenience and incapability. Meng Jie School for the Blind, in Hebei, China, 2014.

Running back to his dormitory, this boy fell into a small pond and got wet totally. Meng Jie School for the Blind, in Hebei, China, 2014.

Footprints in a shared dormitory. Meng Jie School for the Blind, in Hebei, China, 2014.

A boy playing with his cell phone in the dorm. Meng Jie School for the Blind, in Hebei, China, 2014.

Playing in the yard. Meng Jie School for the Blind, in Hebei, China, 2014.

Waiting for dinner outside of the cafeteria. Meng Jie School for the Blind, in Hebei, China, 2014.

Using his low vision, a boy tried to help his friends feel the thorn on the roses. Meng Jie School for the Blind, in Hebei, China, 2014.