This Chinese Couple Turned Their Wedding Photos Into Protest Art

People in China cannot breathe, and they are getting tired of trying to mask it. One newlywed couple, in an act of protest, took their wedding portraits outdoors

Donning a face mask with a now-gray stained wedding dress, the bride holds her husband, breathing through a gas mask, in a morbidly polluted embrace.

When the air is so thick that children are told to stay indoors, city dwellers can no longer see skyscrapers and face masks are out of stock. Taking wedding photos outside is a beautiful and desperate attempt to get the world's attention. 

Beijing's insanely high rate of pollution is billowing at over nine times the safe breathing level. The World Health Organization has recently declared it a health crisis.

This couple's wedding album reveals just how bad China's air pollution is: 

1. An act of protest

Bride Zhang Xinyu and groom Bai Beibei decided to take their wedding portraits outside, facing the hazardous smog to protest the abysmal air quality. 

2. The dangers of breathing

The level of toxic particles is so bad that simply taking in a deep breath can send the particles into a person's blood stream

3. Nuclear winter

China's toxic air pollution resembles a nuclear winter, scientists say. A nuclear winter describes the environmental impacts of detonating — yes, you thought right — a nuclear bomb. 

4. Smog clinics

China's choking smog is causing asthma and other chronic conditions. One hospital in Southwest China opened a "smog clinic" in 2013.


5. Photosynthesis is slowing.

"Every farm is caught in a smog panic," one scientist told the South China Morning Post.

6. One man is suing the government.

One man recently sued the Chinese government, demanding the environmental protection agency "perform its duty to control air pollution according to the law." 

7. City dwellers can barely see the sun.

Residents of Beijing have been posting images on social media of a muted sun behind grey skies. Some of the city's largest skyscrapers aren't fully visible

8. Smog lab

The Chinese government may be investing $81 million(500 million yuan) to study smog pollution, its effects and enacting measures to reduce it. The plan includes the constructing a large "smog lab."

9. A dangerous problem

Nearly 15% of the huge country is blanketed in dangerous pollution. China's plans to speed up solar, wind and geothermal energy cannot come soon enough. 

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Marguerite Ward

Marguerite Ward is a journalist and editor based in New York. Connect with her @forwardist.

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