Chai Chunya was born in 1975 in a village in the province of Gansu, as remote a place as where he set his debut film, Four Ways to Die in My Hometown. He studied politics and law before starting to work as a journalist and photographer for Southern Weekend—then the most liberal paper in China. He made many journeys, including through Tibet, Xinjiang, North Korea, Yunnan, and Inner Mongolia, that formed the basis for his second film, Border: Travels in China’s Inland Frontier, three novels, and several photo series.
Started in his hometown, a multi-ethnic and multi-religious town in China’s interior, Chai Chunya has conducted an in-depth examination of the problem of the boundaries between human beings caused by religion, culture and politics, and found, after more than ten years of travels and field work, that the world was originally unbounded. But because of ignorance, people build up mental and spiritual barriers and set up borders everywhere. This world is becoming barren, indifferent and dead because of the elimination of communication, exchange and respect. The source of communication, exchange and respect is love, compassion and forgiveness. Once the fountain of love, compassion, and forgiveness has dried up, racial discrimination, national hatred, and terrorism, born of barrenness, indifference, and death, will thrive. Alongside a book, Chai also made Border film series which visually presents the content of the book. This film series can be found in CIFA's collection.