WATCH: Fearless villager clears 10,000 land mines from China-Vietnam border
40 years after the Sino-Vietnamese War, thousands of land mines remain scattered across the countryside
Wang Kaixue, a 48-year-old man from Lipo County in Yunnan Province, has spent the past 20 years removing and deactivating over 10,000 land mines from the China-Vietnam border, by hand and without protective gear.
Wang is entirely self-taught, studying mines for two years before starting to remove them himself in 1990. He works a grueling schedule, demining for eight hours a day, but plans to retire at the age of 55. Wang estimates there are at least 200 mines per every 2 mu (1,300 m²) and his goal is to have cleared 250 mu (166,000 m²) by the time he is finished.
The border between Vietnam and southwest China was a major battleground in the Sino-Vietnamese war of 1979, and it is estimated that tens of thousands of land mines were left behind. Earlier this year, the PLA announced its third demining mission along the border, to be completed by the end of 2018.