Miners, the Horsekeeper and Pneumoconiosis – Jiang Nengjie


In southwestern Hunan, many people mine illegally for a living, and many miners develop pneumoconiosis. After the illegal mines are shut down by the government, their road to misery begins.


Synopsis of Miners, the Horsekeeper and Pneumoconiosis

The local economy in the southwest of Hunan province is not active. Therefore, the people either go out to work or work as miners in the mountain. As a result of mining accidents, the government has tried to regulate, but many people still mine illegally in order to make a living. Miners often go down mines without protection, and after many years, many of them develop pneumoconiosis.

Later, with prices plummeting and the government overhauling them, the need for survival is no longer met by illegal mining. Many people have to find other jobs, either farming at home or working south. The miners, suffering from pneumoconiosis, are on their way to misery.

Read our blog post to see reviews about issues reflected by this film from local audience.


1 hour 19 minutes* | English & Simplified Chinese subtitles | HD (1920×1080)
China | 2019
Director: Jiang Nengjie
Production Company: MianHuaSha Film Studio
*52-minute version is available for institutional use.

Highlight Endorsement

“A father’s pain and fear bridges the gulf that separates urbanites from poor villagers in China, a horribly unequal society.”
The Economist

“It’s coarse and yet powerful, and it records the hardships of people’s lives with the weight of ten years. Every era needs such records. Creation requires attitude and integrity, and we need the courage to face the truth.”
Huan Le Fen Lie, Douban reviewer

Reasons for Recommendation

1. Miners, the Horsekeeper and Pneumoconiosis has the rating of 8.6 on Douban and 7.3 on IMDB.
2. During the ravages of COVID-19, this brave film about the real world becomes an instant hit in China as it meets people’s need to know the truth.
3. This documentary reflects the loopholes and disadvantages of the existing medical system in China.

More Info

1. The Economist: China stifles documentary-makers, but their art still shines
2. Le Monde: Le cinéaste chinois, la pneumoconiose et la censure
3. South China Morning Post: ‘It’s better than dying of hunger’: plight of Chinese miners with deadly lung disease exposed in new documentary
4. Sixth Tone: Premiering in Your Inbox: China’s New Indie Doc Sensation
5. Related blog posts

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