CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Monday, July 3, 2017




THE AWAKENING OF CHINA AND THE SLEEPY WEST

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A Japanese soldier stands guard over part of the captured Great Wall of China in 1937, during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Empire of Japan and the Republic of China had been at war intermittently since 1931, but the conflict escalated in 1937. (LOC)

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Japanese aircraft carry out a bombing run over targets in China in 1937. (LOC) # 

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Japanese soldiers involved in street fighting in Shanghai, China in 1937. The battle of Shanghai lasted from August through November of 1937, eventually involving nearly one million troops. In the end, Shanghai fell to the Japanese, after over 150,000 casualties combined.(LOC) # 

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First pictures of the Japanese occupation of Peiping (Beijing) in China, on August 13, 1937. Under the banner of the rising sun, Japanese troops are shown passing from the Chinese City of Peiping into the Tartar City through Chen-men, the main gate leading onward to the palaces in the Forbidden City. Just a stone's throw away is the American Embassy, where American residents of Peiping flocked when Sino-Japanese hostilities were at their worst. (AP Photo) # 

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Japanese soldiers execute captured Chinese soldiers with bayonets in a trench as other Japanese soldiers watch from rim. (LOC) # 

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Chinese General Chiang Kai-shek, right, head of the Nanking government at Canton, with General Lung Yun, chairman of the Yunan provincial government in Nanking, on June 27, 1936. (AP Photo) 

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On Feb. 5, 1938, A Chinese woman surveys the remains of her family, all of whom met death during Japanese occupation of Nanking, allegedly victims of atrocities at the hands of Japanese soldiers. (AP Photo) # 

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Buddhist priests of the Big Asakusa Temple prepare for the Second Sino-Japanese War as they wear gas masks during training against future aerial attacks in Tokyo, Japan, on May 30, 1936. (AP Photo)


Rickshaws, women in Cheongsam dresses and buzzing alleyways: Mesmerising pictures capture the bygone life of Hong Kong as a British colony


  • Pictures captured by award-winning photographer Fan Ho show Hong Kong was a blend of East and West
  • From a fishing port to a trading harbour, the city made its fame under the rule of the British government
  • Black-and-white frames present Hong Kong in the 50s and 60s, where the city was booming with business
  • Twenty years ago, the British government handed over the sovereignty of Hong Kong back to China
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Today's Hong Kong, a bustling home to over seven million people, is very different from how it was in the 1950s and 1960s. 
At that point in time, the British colony was embracing a large inflow of immigrants from mainland China after Communist leader Mao Zedong declared the establishment of People's Republic of China in 1949.
Fan Ho, an award-winning photographer, also arrived in Hong Kong in 1949 from Shanghai. From then, he used his Rolleiflex camera to capture the societal changes and rapid development of the city.
In 'Afternoon Chat', a picture taken in 1959, Fan Ho captures the group of city-dwellers chatting causally at an underpass in the emerging business district of Central. The snapshot reflects a rare glimpse in an otherwise fast-paced commercial city
In 'Afternoon Chat', a picture taken in 1959, Fan Ho captures the group of city-dwellers chatting causally at an underpass in the emerging business district of Central. The snapshot reflects a rare glimpse in an otherwise fast-paced commercial city
People Crossing (1963): The tram was Hong Kong's earliest form of transport and is still being used today
People Crossing (1963): The tram was Hong Kong's earliest form of transport and is still being used today
Woks (1964): A street-side vendor is captured making a Chinese wok. At the time, Hong Kong exported the Chinese cooking utensils to overseas countries as example of industrialisation
Woks (1964): A street-side vendor is captured making a Chinese wok. At the time, Hong Kong exported the Chinese cooking utensils to overseas countries as example of industrialisation
The incredible black-and-white pictures taken by Mr Ho show a kaleidoscopic selection of Hong Kong's bygone life: city-dwellers talking at an underpass in a business district, an old woman walking down an empty alley and crowds of shoppers buying food from a wet market. 
Some other images herald the city's history as an important habour: a hawker pushing his cart along the water's edge in front of European style buildings and a junk sailing on serene water.
Taken during the 1950s and 1960s, these are the Hong Kong images immortalised by Mr Ho, arguably the most famous photographer in the Hong Kong history who died of pneumonia last year aged 84.
Renowned for the sense of drama heightened by the use of smoke and light, Fan Ho's work captures the tranquility of the city which was undergoing drastic changes in many ways.
Under Mr Ho's lens, the streets and people of Hong Kong turned into a 'living theatre'.
His work alongside his vintage camera were recently put on display at Sotheby's Hong Kong Gallery
Fan Ho's On The Stage of Life was taken in 1954, showcasing the western culture flowing into Hong Kong under the British rule
Fan Ho's On The Stage of Life was taken in 1954, showcasing the western culture flowing into Hong Kong under the British rule
The customers at Hong Kong's first indoor market in Central were perfectly captured under Mr Ho's 'Sun Rays' in 1959
The customers at Hong Kong's first indoor market in Central were perfectly captured under Mr Ho's 'Sun Rays' in 1959
The mise-en-scène of the picture had a sense of cinematography under Mr Ho's lens
Another picture, called Her Study (1963), revealed the daily life of children in the booming era of Hong Kong (right)
In the mood for love: The mise-en-scène of the picture had a sense of cinematography under Mr Ho's lens in 1960 (left). Another picture, called Her Study (1963), revealed the daily life of children in the booming era of Hong Kong (right)
Hong Kong, under British rule from 1842 to 1997, was a rare blend of East and West.  
Drastic changes happened in Hong Kong in late 1940s and early 1950s due to an inflow of refugees and entrepreneurs fleeing the civil war between Kuomintang and Communist Party on the mainland, according to
Population surged quickly from around one million in 1941 to 2.5 million in 1956, then to three million in 1960.  
Hong Kong quickly transformed itself from a fishing port to an industrialised economy. 
The most prominent example of this was the immigrants from Shanghai who created the cotton spinning industry in the colony. 
Hong Kong's industry was founded in the textile sector in the 1950s before gradually diversifying in the 1960s to clothing, electronics, plastics and other labor-intensive production mainly for export.
As business opened up to overseas trade, the city was crowned as one of the 'Four Asian Tigers' with booming economy driven by textile exports and manufacturing industries.
The government launched an ambitious public education program, creating over 300,000 new primary schools between 1954 and 1961. 
By 1966, 99.8 per cent of school-age children were attending primary school, although free universal primary school was not provided until 1971. 
Mr Ho took a self portrait  with his  camera. He was wildly regarded as the most famous photographer from Hong Kong
Mr Ho took a self portrait with his camera. He was wildly regarded as the most famous photographer from Hong Kong
Hong Kong turned from a fishing port to an industrialised city when a large supply of labour force immigrated to the city. The above picture was taken by Fan Ho in 1957 and is called Construction
Hong Kong turned from a fishing port to an industrialised city when a large supply of labour force immigrated to the city. The above picture was taken by Fan Ho in 1957 and is called Construction
Market Parade (1963) People were seen wearing Chinese traditional clothing and also suits, displaying a perfect blend of East and West
Market Parade (1963) People were seen wearing Chinese traditional clothing and also suits, displaying a perfect blend of East and West
The government launched an ambitious public education program, creating over 300,000 new primary schools between 1954 and 1961
Mr Ho created Lost in Central (1951/2013) by combining two negatives onto a scanner to digitize it
The government launched an ambitious public education program, creating over 300,000 new primary schools between 1954 and 1961. Mr Ho created Lost in Central (1951/2013) by combining two negatives onto a scanner to digitize it (right)
Mr Ho's pictures, captured in his album 'Hong Kong Yesterday', showcased how the daily life of working class people on the street during the era.
The impact of the East and West were reflected in the photos under his Rolleiflex f3.5 camera.
Women in traditional Cheongsam can be seen visiting the first Hong Kong indoor market in Central; in contrast, theatres showed 'West End' musicals.
Daily Routine (1961) The start of education system: Children went to schools as the city opened up free education policy
Daily Routine (1961) The start of education system: Children went to schools as the city opened up free education policy
Mr Ho's picture often displayed strong contrast of lights and shadows, as one of his characteristics in camera skills
A cousin of Mr Ho was asked to pose against a wall in Approaching Shadow (1954)
Mr Ho's picture often displayed strong contrast of lights and shadows, as one of his characteristics in camera skills (left). A cousin of Mr Ho was asked to pose against a wall in Approaching Shadow (1954) (right)
Mr Ho moved to Hong Kong from Shanghai with his family in 1949 at the age of 18. He started taking photographs of Hong Kong after he bought himself a camera.
He had won over 280 awards in photography before reaching the age of 28, according to Fan Ho Trust Estate.
In 1966, his first attempt as film director won him the best movie award at Banbury Film Festival in Britain.
Mr Ho continued to work in the film industry and retired when he was 65 years old.
He moved to San Francisco afterwards and flew back to Hong Kong to visit his family occasionally.   
During one of Mr Ho's trips back to Hong Kong in the early 2010s, he said in an interview with Perspective Magazine that he could no longer find the scenes and inspiration of the old Hong Kong, the Hong Kong he had made so iconic with his still images.
'There must be humanity in art.' Photos that Mr Ho took had a special feeling to the viewers, pictured Pattern (1956)
'There must be humanity in art.' Photos that Mr Ho took had a special feeling to the viewers, pictured Pattern (1956)
The work life a man carrying a rickshaw was captured by Mr Ho under the photo 'A Day is Done' in 1957
The influence of western culture can be seen in the buildings along the harbour in Hong Kong
The work life a man carrying a rickshaw was captured by Mr Ho under the photo 'A Day is Done' in 1957 (left). The influence of western culture can be seen in the buildings along the harbour in Hong Kong (right)
'In the 1950s and 60s there were many back alleys, narrow streets and open markets - this time I can't even remember how to find my own streets and alleys. It is all skyscrapers and has changed to a degree that I can hardly recognise it,' he said, smiling. 
In one of his latest books, Fan Ho: A Hong Kong Memoir, Mr Ho dug through his old archives and put forth never-before-seen images from the 50s and 60s. 
But in reality, Mr Ho's Hong Kong has disappeared forever - the city has turned from a tranquil seaside port to a metropolis of gleaming skyscrapers, a home to some 7.4 million people.
Colonial emblems have become a symbol of protests. Conflicts have grown over controversial political issues.
His dream (1964): The days in the 60s when people were more carefree and stress-free, as shown in the photos of Mr Ho
Light shining into a back alley of a Hong Kong street with a maid walking reflected a change in Hong Kong's society
His dream (1964): The days in the 60s when people were more carefree and stress-free, as shown in the photos of Mr Ho (left). Light shining into a back alley of a Hong Kong street with a maid walking reflected a change in Hong Kong's society (right)
East Meets West (1963): Hong Kong changed dramatically under the British rule, which made it into an international city
East Meets West (1963): Hong Kong changed dramatically under the British rule, which made it into an international city
As Mr Ho said in an interview with SCMP in 2014, he would never click the shutter if the scene did not touch his heart.
'There must be humanity in art. If you feel nothing when you click the shutter, you give the viewer nothing to respond to and you have nothing to convey.'
The laid-back city Fan Ho captured has become a cherished memory of Hong Kong.
And just like Mr Ho said, his classic images have not only touched his heart, but also the hearts of millions of residents of the fast-growing metropolis.

The historic hall that just costs too much to save. The estate was once one of England's grandest country houses.  Millions of pounds have been spent so far on the restoration of the extensive gardens. Former residents include the Dukes of Sutherland, the Duke of Suffolk and the Earl of Gower. Once one of England’s most majestic country houses, the future of this historic hall looks grim as vital restoration costs reach £35million. Grand plans for the 180-year-old Trentham Hall, in Trentham Gardens near Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire are at a standstill because of the latest economic recession, leaving them to decay after they were named on English Heritage’s ‘at risk’ register. Planning permission to turn the dilapidated building into a conference hotel has been given the green light but the cost of repairs are too high for developer St Modwen.


What remains of 180-year-old Trentham Hall is at risk of falling into ruin after developers say £35million restoration costs are too much to make it viable 
Doomed to disappear: What remains of 180-year-old Trentham Hall is at risk of falling into ruin after developers say £35million restoration costs are too much to make it viable
The Trentham Estate was a spectacular sight, with several buildings and extensive gardens including a large Elizabethan house in 1630s which it is thought to have been demolished during the construction of the Georgian estate 
What it once was: The Trentham Estate was a spectacular sight, with several buildings and extensive gardens including a large Elizabethan house in 1630s which it is thought to have been demolished during the construction of the Georgian estate.Many millions of pounds have been spent on the estate since it was bought by St Modwen in 1996, when it was in such a state that both the buildings and extensive gardens were derelict and vandalised. Mike Herbert, the North Staffordshire regional director at St Modwen, said that much money had been spent in maintaining the site from further deterioration. After a restoration of the gardens in 2003, the estate was re-opened in 2004 and now attracts some three million visitors every year. He said of the Grade II-listed buildings: ‘We have planning approvals for the restoration of Trentham Hall but the cost of doing so is significantly greater than its current value.
Plans to develop the buildings of Trentham Hall are at a standstill after developer St Modwen says £35m restoration costs are too expensive 
Plans to develop the buildings of Trentham Hall are at a standstill after developer St Modwen says £35m restoration costs are too expensive to build the planned conference hotel
Dr Simon Thurley, from English Heritage said of Trentham Hall: 'Grade II-listed buildings are the bulk of the nation's heritage treasury so when one of them is lost, it is as though someone has rubbed out a bit of the past' 
Grade II-listed heritage: Dr Simon Thurley, from English Heritage said of Trentham Hall: 'Grade II-listed buildings are the bulk of the nation's heritage treasury so when one of them is lost, it is as though someone has rubbed out a bit of the past'
The extensive public gardens in 2008 which is part of the estate that developer St Modwen said they cannot restore, leaving the buildings in dismal disrepair 
Garden's revival: While some of the buildings languish, the spectacular gardens were recently refurbished and replanted with thousands of plants and flowers to return it to its former glory  
Restoration costs are 'significantly greater than its current value,' says the developer 
Costly country views: Many millions of pounds have been spent on the estate since it was bought by St Modwen in 1996, when it was in such a state that both the buildings and extensive gardens were derelict and vandalised. ‘To restore and rebuild it would cost around £30-£35million, but the current value as a hotel is well below that. Therefore, it is just not economically viable in the current economy. 'Developing the hall was planned for five to ten years after we started the restoration but we have had somewhat of a recession in the last few years and this has delayed the plans completely. 'We are looking to see if there are ways of making the scheme work financially. The plan of a major conference centre is particularly expensive and difficult to market. 'We are committed to bringing the hall back to life, it's just a question of when we can make the numbers work.'
Sir Barry spent more than 10 years, making improvements to the house adding a new block with state bedrooms complete with dressing rooms and its own servants' quarters as well as the sculpture gallery and the clock tower 
Grand plans: Sir Charles Barry spent more than 10 years, making improvements to the house adding a new block with state bedrooms complete with dressing rooms and its own servants' quarters as well as the sculpture gallery and the clock tower
The lake in the estate became polluted by sewage from local potteries around the 1900s and it was offered for free to the local councils in 1905 but by 1907 it stood abandoned and so the bulk of the estate was demolished in 1912 
Demolition: The lake in the estate became polluted by sewage from local potteries around the 1900s and it was offered for free to the local councils in 1905 but by 1907 it stood abandoned and so the bulk of the estate was demolished in 1912. Mr Herbert said a recent report from the local council into the estate found that 'great progress' had been made in the restoration work so far. Dr Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, said: ‘Grade II-listed buildings are the bulk of the nation's heritage treasury so when one of them is lost, it is as though someone has rubbed out a bit of the past.  ‘Something that made the area special will have gone. But now, with the economic climate putting more pressure than ever on these buildings, it is time to plug the one remaining gap.’
The earliest record of Trentham Hall dates back to 1086 and since then it has been home to many prominent people including the Duke of Suffolk, Sir Thomas Pope, Earl Gower and the Dukes of Sutherland until it was abandoned in 1905 
Trentham in 1937: The earliest record of Trentham Hall dates back to 1086 and since then it has been home to many prominent people including the Duke of Suffolk, Sir Thomas Pope, Earl Gower and the Dukes of Sutherland until it was abandoned in 1905
Once one of England's grandest: A drawing of the terrace in the extensive gardens which were once tended by up to 50 gardeners 
Once one of England's grandest: A drawing of the terrace in the extensive gardens which were once tended by up to 50 gardeners
The earliest record of Trentham Hall dates back to 1086 and since then it has been home to many prominent people including the Duke of Suffolk, Earl Gower and the Dukes of Sutherland until it was abandoned in 1905 
Historic house: The earliest record of Trentham Hall dates back to 1086 and since then it has been home to many prominent people including the Duke of Suffolk, Earl Gower and the Dukes of Sutherland until it was abandoned in 1905
The river was diverted to flow into a lake in the gardens but it became a blight on the beautiful estate when it became polluted by sewage from local potteries around the 1900s 
Punt for a time: The river was diverted to flow into a lake in the gardens but it became a blight on the beautiful estate when it became polluted by sewage from local potteries around the 1900s
Trentham Gardens
Trentham Gardens
Garden reinvention: The gardens were once tended by up to 50 gardeners and they are still maintained by a huge staff after they were revived by award-winning designer Tom Stuart-Smith
A sculpture gallery, the 100ft clock tower (pictured), parish church are among the buildings which remain after the main hall was demolished in 1913
Time takes its toll: A sculpture gallery and a 100ft clock tower (pictured) are among the buildings which remain after the main hall was demolished. The spectacular and vast gardens were once tended by up to 50 gardeners and were recently refurbished and replanted with thousands of plants and flowers to return it to its former glory. It is still maintained by a huge staff and is seen by many visitors especially in spring and summer. The famous Italian Gardens were revived by award-winning designer Tom Stuart-Smith. The earliest record of Trentham estate dates back to 1086 and since then it has been home to many prominent people including the Duke of Suffolk, Sir Thomas Pope, Earl Gower and was the former seat of the Dukes of Sutherland until it was abandoned in 1905. A sculpture gallery, the 100ft clock tower, parish church are among the buildings which remain after the main hall was demolished in 1913. The site was originally an Augustinian Priory and then a convent. In the 1630s a large Elizabethan house was built but is thought to have been demolished to make way for the construction of the Georgian Trentham Hall. The house was dramatically renovated by famous architect Sir Charles Barry during the mid-1830s, at the same time he was working on the rebuilding of the Houses of Parliament. He was commissioned by the second Duke of Sutherland to make the house grander in order to show off his wealth as the largest landowner in Britain at the time. For more than 10 years, Sir Barry made improvements to the house adding a new block with state bedrooms complete with dressing rooms and its own servants’ quarters as well as the sculpture gallery and the clock tower. New family quarters and a grand main entrance displaying the family coat of arms as well as life-size wolves were also built. Even the River Trent was incorporated into the estate’s design. The river was diverted to flow into a lake in the extensive garden. But the lake became a blight on the beautiful estate when it became polluted by sewage from local potteries around the 1900s. Such a disfigurement on the estate, it was offered for free to the County of Staffordshire and the Borough of Stoke-on-Trent in 1905 but by 1907 it stood abandoned and so the bulk of the estate was demolished in 1912.















The (broken) Promised Land: Eerie Bible-themed amusement park left to fall into ruin over three decades

A theme park dedicated to the Bible may seem like a scary place for atheists and non-believers.
When it comes to the now-defunct Holy Land USA amusement park, however, even the most devout visitors can agree that it is an eerie place - at least from these photos discovered from a Flickr account.
Construction on the Waterbury, Connecticut theme park began in 1955 when a religious local lawyer named John Greco who created the 19-acre park as a place for pilgrimages and an entertaining way for interested visitors to learn about the Bible.
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The abandoned Holy Land amusement park leaves a plethora of strange and peculiar artifacts
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Construction on the park began in 1955 and it became very popular in the 1960s and 1970s but it shuttered in 1984, initially with plans for it to be re-done
Visible to all: The 56-foot cross in Holy Land USA theme park could be seen by drivers on a nearby highway in Waterbury, Connecticut and not just the thousands of visitors who went to the park in it's heyday 
Visible to all: The 56-foot cross in Holy Land USA theme park could be seen by drivers on a nearby highway in Waterbury, Connecticut and not just the thousands of visitors who went to the park in it's heyday
Setting the scene: The 19-acre theme park was filled with recreated scenes, religious statues and dioramas
Setting the scene: The 19-acre theme park was filled with recreated scenes, religious statues and dioramas
Setting the scene: The 19-acre theme park was filled with recreated scenes, religious statues and dioramas
Along with sculptures and massive displays of Bible verses, it had dioramas depicting various passages and a recreation of the Garden of Eden.
Visitors were not the only ones who experienced the light of the park, as a 56-foot cross stood shining brightly and was visible from the nearby highway. It has since been dismantled.
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Neglected for nearly three decades, Holy Land more resembles a haunted mansion
Ancient influences: The connection between Judaism and Christianity was explained in one of the displays 
Ancient influences: The connection between Judaism and Christianity was explained in one of the displays
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The park was officially closed in 1984, despite receiving nearly 100,000 visitors annually
In its peak during the 1960s and 1970s, the crowds topped 40,000 annually, but that didn't stop it from closing in 1984.
Even though it was placed in the care of a group of nuns, it fell into serious disrepair and remains abandoned today.
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This text from the gospel of Matthew still stands intact in the abandoned park
Pivotal spot: This shows a model of the inn in Bethlehem that was involved in the story of Jesus' birth 
Pivotal spot: This shows a model of the inn in Bethlehem that was involved in the story of Jesus' birth
Eerie even then: The tombs display may have spooked some of the 40,000 annual visitors even when it was up to the highest condition but now they are even scarier 
Eerie even then: The tombs display may have spooked some of the 40,000 annual visitors even when it was up to the highest condition but now they are even scarier
Messages: A display of the crucifixion is now covered in chicken wire (left)
Messages: A display of the crucifixion is now covered in chicken wire (left) and the Jerusalem area is pictured here before it was vandalized (right)
Messages: A display of the crucifixion is now covered in chicken wire (left) and the Jerusalem area is pictured here before it was vandalized (right)
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While the park was open an incidence of rape was reported
Back in the day: A visitor is pictured in front of one of the displays in 1974 when it was in its heyday 
Back in the day: A visitor is pictured in front of one of the displays in 1974 when it was in its heyday
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The large cross stands a reminder that this site was supposed to be a site for worshiping Christians
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Many of the chapters in the Bible, including Luke, contain violent imagery
Its worst milestone came in July 2010 when a 16-year-old girl was raped and murdered on the grounds.
The case prompted much speculation about what should be done with the space and how it can be secured to keep trespassers and vandals out.





























21st CENTURY CHINA
The People's Republic of China, the most populous country, and the second-largest economy, in the world, is a vast, dynamic nation that continues to grow and evolve. In this, the latest entry in a semi-regular series on China, we find a tremendous variety of images, including a military theme park, a rocket launch, a seriously massive shoe, a Pac Man soap-box racer, and a man who invented his own prosthetic arms. This collection offers only a small view of people and places across the country over the past several weeks.


A circle-shaped piece of landscape architecture in Fushun, Liaoning province, on September 13, 2012. The 157-meter high building named "Ring of Life" cost around a hundred million RMB ($16 million USD) and used 3,000 tons of steel, local media reported. (Reuters/China Daily)
China’s communist leaders are promising to revolutionize the world’s second largest economy and move on from being the world’s workshop. Unlike most communist governments, China’s one-party state has survived by embracing capitalism to deliver new wealth. Chinese officials recently reported they would reach their target for annual economic growth of 7.5 percent this year despite the impact of the global slowdown. Leaders hope this recovery from its slowest period of growth since early 2009 could cement a cyclical rebound in the country.
121912_China Econ

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A paramilitary policeman in plain clothes watch tourists on the Tiananmen Gate, opposite Tiananmen Square, in Beijing, on September 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan) # 

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A competitor rides a Pac Man-themed home-made vehicle without an engine on a 600-meter-track during the Red Bull Soapbox Race in Hong Kong, on October 14, 2012. The race is judged on speed, creativity and showmanship, with competitors having to navigate their home-made human powered vehicles on the track in the best time. (Reuters/Tyrone Siu) # 

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A car, parked on a hillside with a closed coal mine sitting in the distance on the grasslands of Right Ujumchin Banner in the northern Chinese region of Inner Mongolia, on September 4, 2012. The mine was closed following protests by ethnic Mongols last year over destruction of their traditional grazing lands by open cast coal mining. As China's largest coal producer, Inner Mongolia has posted rapid economic growth, but the wealth has been unevenly distributed and open-cast mining has left scars on the landscape. (Reuters/Ben Blanchard) # 

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Old city blocks in a residential district, pictured in front of the Grand Lisboa casino (left) and other skyscrapers in Macau, on October 11, 2012. While the boon from the development of the gambling industry over the past decade has helped to improve the general standard of living -- Macau is set to be the world's fastest growing economy this year -- residents say the development of social infrastructure, transport, welfare is significantly lagging that of the gambling sector. (Reuters/Bobby Yip) # 

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Yi ethnic minority children pose in front of a house in Butuo county, Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan province, on October 3, 2012. Locked in deep mountains, Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture is home to the largest group of Chinese Yi minorities, as well as one of the poorest regions in China, according to local media. The Chinese characters on the wall are part of a slogan reading "To popularize the nine-year compulsory education is the inevitable responsibility for every citizen." (Reuters/China Daily) # 

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Dogs which have been dyed red upon contact with a dye called Rhodamine B extra are seen in Jinan, Shandong province, September 18, 2012. A bag of Rhodamine B extra, was dropped on a highway and drifted to a nearby village after being crushed by passing vehicles, local media reported. (Reuters/China Daily) # 

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(1 of 5) Performers play drums outside the Eighth Route Army Culture Park, one of two theme parks, in Wuxiang county, Shanxi province, on October 20, 2012. Visitors to the theme parks pay to participate in a dress up action play with performers, where they can choose to role play as soldiers from the Japanese army or the Eighth Route Army, with professional sound and lighting effects. (Reuters/Jason Lee) # 

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(2 of 5) A man dressed as an Eighth Route Army soldier checks toy weapons before a live action role-playing game based on the computer game "Stalker", at a guerrilla warfare experience park, on the outskirts of Wuxiang county, Shanxi province, on October 20, 2012. A performance named "Mountain Taihang" is also available where visitors can watch performers put on a live-action show depicting the China-Japan war. (Reuters/Jason Lee) # 

(3 of 5) A woman dressed as a Japanese military soldier walks in a trench during a live action role-playing game based on the computer game "Stalker", at a guerrilla warfare experience park in north China's Shanxi province, on October 20, 2012. The two parks, located near the former headquarters of the Eighth Route Army, a military group controlled by the Communist Party of China during the Chinese Civil War and the Second Sino-Japanese War, cost the Wuxiang government around 500 million RMB ($80 million) to construct. (Reuters/Jason Lee) # 

(4 of 5) Visitors on a rail car use toy weapons to shoot at images of Japanese soldiers displayed as targets at a guerrilla warfare experience park in Wuxiang county, on October 20, 2012. (Reuters/Jason Lee) # 

(5 of 5) A visitor uses a toy weapon to shoot targets made to look like Japanese soldiers at a guerrilla warfare experience park, in north China's Shanxi province, on October 20, 2012. (Reuters/Jason Lee) # 

A visitor takes a picture of jellyfish with her mobile phone under the green lights at an aquarium in Wuhan, Hubei province, on September 28, 2012. (Reuters/Stringer) # 

A passenger jet flies past the setting sun above Shanghai, on September 29, 2012. (Reuters/Aly Song) # 

A model presents a creation by emerging designers presented by Femina Magazine during the 2013 Spring/Summer show at Shanghai Fashion Week, on October 18, 2012. (Reuters/Carlos Barria) # 

An ethnic Uighur man takes a nap on a board as his goat, tied to the board, stands next to him at a demolition site in Aksu, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, on August 13, 2012. (Reuters/Stringer) # 

A Chinese helicopter takes part in rescue drills in Zhoushan in east China's Zhejiang province, on October 19, 2012. China was flexing some maritime muscle in its dispute with Japan over a chain of uninhabited islands, holding naval exercises in the East China Sea to demonstrate its ability to enforce offshore territorial claims. (AP Photo) # 

A competitor looks out at the city of Shanghai, after finishing the 2012 Sky Marathon at the Shanghai World Financial Center, on October 20, 2012. More than 300 competitors participated in the second edition of the Sky Marathon hosted at the Shanghai World Financial Center, China's tallest building. The vertical race takes competitors up 100 floors, covering 2,754 stairs and 474 meters. The winner, Austria's Rolf Majcen, an economist and lawyer, climbed to the top in 18 minutes and 55 seconds. (Reuters/Carlos Barria) # 

The Three Gorges Hotel (left) and the passenger terminal of Chongqing Port (right) collapse after demolition by explosives in Chongqing, China, on August 30, 2012. The 32-story landmark passenger terminal and the hotel, which face the city's Chaotianmen Square, were demolished by controlled explosives. A new building with complex functions of transportation hub, tourism, trade and business will be built as an improving project of Chaotianmen area. (Reuters/China Daily) # 

A Chinese rocket loaded with Venezuelan satellite VRSS-1, a remote sensing satellite, lifts off from the launch pad in the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province, on September 29, 2012. (Reuters/Stringer) # 

A protester from the Occupy Hong Kong movement, inside a tent before being removed by bailiffs from the area at the HSBC headquarters in Hong Kong, on September 11, 2012. Police cleared a few remaining Occupy Hong Kong protesters from an open-air plaza beneath HSBC's Asian headquarters, nearly a year after the anti-capitalists pitched their tents in the heart of Hong Kong's financial district. (Reuters/Bobby Yip) # 

Ships sail on the Yangtze River near Badong, 100km (62 miles) from the Three Gorges dam in Hubei province, on August 7, 2012. The environmental problems associated with the Three Gorges dam illustrate China's energy dilemma: To move away from its reliance on coal-fired power plants, Beijing says it has to develop cleaner forms of power. Hydropower is the most cost-effective way China can meet its energy needs, but its problems are still unfolding. The dam cost China more than $50 billion and displaced 1.4 million people while another 100,000 people may be moved from Hubei and the southwestern municipality of Chongqing in the next three to five years due to geological risks an official said in April. (Reuters/Carlos Barria) # 

Women attend an interview during a job fair for China Eastern Airlines flight attendants in Shanghai, on October 19, 2012. Some 2,000 people signed up for interviews as China Eastern Airlines planned to recruit 800 flight attendants from Shanghai, local media reported. (Reuters/Aly Song) # 

Sun Jifa raises his prosthetic forearms in Yong Ji county, Jilin province, on September 25, 2012. Sun, a Chinese farmer who lost his forearms in a dynamite fishing accident 32 years ago, could not afford to buy prosthetic limbs. He spent two years guiding his two nephews to build his prosthesis from scrap metal, plastic and rubber. Over the years, Sun and his nephews have built about 300 prosthetic limbs for people in need, charging 3000 RMB ($476) each. (Reuters/Sheng Li) # 

Mid-level government officials dressed in red army uniforms listen to a lesson as they visit a historic house where former Chinese leader Mao Zedong used to live during their 5-day training course at the communist party school called China Executive Leadership Academy of Jinggangshan, in Jiangxi province, on September 21, 2012. The Academy was established in 2005 by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. During the course, trainees listen and sing revolutionary songs, visit old revolutionary sites and review historical communist materials. (Reuters/Carlos Barria) # 

A replica of a Kuomintang aircraft explodes during a battle re-enactment of the Defense of Yan'an at a tourist attraction in Yan'an, in China's Shaanxi province, on October 19, 2012. Yan'an was the 1940s communist base where Mao retreated to, escaping Kuomintang forces and regrouped to plot a revolution that brought the Communists into power in 1949. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) # 

Actors perform a theatrical re-enactment of the Red Army battles and the beginning of the Long March in Jinggangshan, Jiangxi province, on September 20, 2012. Jinggangshan is where former Chinese leader Mao Zedong's career as a revolutionary began to take off. (Reuters/Carlos Barria) # 

Actors perform a theatrical re-enactment of the Red Army battles and the beginning of the Long March in Jinggangshan, on September 20, 2012. (Reuters/Carlos Barria) # 

A child dressed like a communist Red Army soldier is shown how to use a replica pistol at a 1940s communist base tourist attraction in Yan'an, Shaanxi province, on October 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) # 

Researchers dressed in panda costumes try to approach giant panda Taotao and its mother Caocao in Wolong National Nature Reserve, on October 7, 2012. Taotao and its mother Caocao were transferred down from a 2,100-meter high mountain to Hetaoping Research and Conservation Center for a health examination and to be prepared for reintroduction to the wild. Researchers wore the costumes to ensure that the cub's environment was devoid of human influence, according to local media. (Reuters/China Daily) # 

Protesters fill a circular junction during a mass demonstration against the launch of national education outside government headquarters in Hong Kong, on September 8, 2012. Shortly afterwards, the Hong Kong government said that schools did not have to adopt a China-backed curriculum from 2015 in an apparent backdown following protests by tens of thousands of people who described it as an attempt to brainwash students. (Reuters/Bobby Yip) # 

A worker immersed in fine dust inside an open-air plant which crushes rocks to produce construction materials on the Gobi Deserton Gobi Desert in Aksu, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, on September 14, 2012. (Reuters/Stringer) # 

Chen Mingzhi, a shoe designer, sits inside of his handmade 1.9 meter-long (6.23 foot-long) right shoe at his family store in Wenling, Zhejiang province, on September 27, 2012. Chen, new to the business of shoe-making, was challenged by a neighbor to create a big shoe. The leather shoe weighs 38 kg (83.8 pounds) and took him two months to make at a cost of 2,000 rmb ($317.30). (Reuters/Carlos Barria) # 

Chinese paramilitary policemen and medical officers halt their operation as an aftershock triggers a landslide in Zhaotong town in Yiliang county in southwest China's Yunnan province, on September 8, 2012. Survivors of two earthquakes that killed 80 people in a mountainous area of southwest China were desperately waiting for more aid to arrive as jolting aftershocks kept fears high and hindered rescue efforts. (AP Photo) # 

A flock of geese swims in a branch of the Yangtze river in Dongtu county, Anhui province, on October 9, 2012. (Reuters/Stringer) # 

A man, whose wife went to the city to take care of their grandson, watches television in his cave-room in Yuncheng, Shanxi province. (Reuters/China Daily) # 

A man collects radishes outside his home near a construction site of a residential complex on the outskirts of Taiyuan, Shanxi province, on October 18, 2012. (Reuters/Jon Woo) # 

Rescuers attempt to stop a man from committing suicide on a bridge in Wuhan, Hubei province, on October 8, 2012. The man was rescued after he climbed onto the top of a bridge over the Yangtze River and threatened his own life if his economic dispute could not be resolved. (Reuters/Stringer) # 

Chinese military troops stand at attention for visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at the Bayi Building in Beijing, on September 18, 2012. Panetta was on the second official stop of a three-nation tour to Japan, China and New Zealand. (Reuters/Larry Downing) # 

A boy plays in corn kernels piled up at his father's store in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, on September 9, 2012. (Reuters/Stringer) # 

A resident holds a spittoon as he walks in an area where old residential buildings are being demolished to make room for new skyscrapers in central Shanghai, on October 17, 2012. (Reuters/Aly Song) # 

A girl has makeup applied before a rehearsal at the Peking Opera summer camp organized by the Peking Opera House in Beijing, on August 14, 2012. The summer training course was held to attract the public to traditional Chinese performance art

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