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"Hutong" is the Chinese word for typical old town districts in Beijing. You'll still find many of them in the very center of the city.
While Beijing is moving fast, developing new districts and constructing massive infrastructure projects, there are still some Hutongs which provide daily life which you would expect only in villages far away from modern metropoles as Beijing. The density and the warm and friendly atmosphere feels like entering a parallel universe.

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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 [...]

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New leaders emerge in China but once a decade. The 18th Party Congress concluded with the ascension of Xi Jinping to the top leadership posts. The meeting in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing's Tiananmen Square drew delegates to formalize the power transfer and led citizens to wait for news. Pictured here are scenes from inside the gathering, and from outside the hall as China anticipated the next ruler of the largest country on earth. -- Lane Turner (34 photos total)
A passenger watches a television screen showing Xi Jinping on a subway train in Shanghai on November 15, 2012. Xi vowed to fight official corruption and build a "better life" for the nation's 1.3 billion people. (Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)

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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 the 21st century. In this, the latest entry in a semi-regular series on China, we find images of tremendous variety, including astronauts, nomadic herders, replica European villages, pole dancers, RV enthusiasts, traditional farmers, and inventors. This collection is only a small view of the people and places in China over the past several weeks. [47 photos]

Liu Yang, China's first female astronaut, waves during a departure ceremony at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province, on June 16, 2012. China sent its first woman taikonaut into outer space this week, prompting a surge of national pride as the rising power takes its latest step towards putting a space station in orbit within the decade. Liu, a 33-year-old fighter pilot, joined two other taikonauts aboard the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft when it lifted off from a remote Gobi Desert launch site. (Reuters/Jason Lee)

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As China's population and economy continue to grow, the country is scrambling to solve challenges in housing, elder care, cultural and political institutions, the environment, and other areas of everyday life. Today's collection, a recent gathering of images from across the nation, covers a range of subjects from wheelchair dancers to bear bile farms, a monkey-controlled robot arm to a Tibetan exile protester who set himself on fire earlier today, and much more. [41 photos]

A woman and her son sit inside the capsule of an electric tricycle as they drive along a main road in central Beijing, on March 15, 2012. (Reuters/David Gray)

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China, the most populous country (1.3 billion people) and the second-largest economy in the world, is a vast, dynamic nation that continues to grow and evolve in the 21st century. Recent events in China include a successful satellite launch that lays the groundwork for a space station, the completion of a massive skyscraper in a rather small village, the 26th Universiade games for student athletes, the celebration of National Day, the Mid-Autumn Festival, and much more. This collection is only a small view of the people and places in China over the past several weeks. [49 photos]

Chinese artist Liu Bolin waits for his colleagues to put a finishing touch on him to blend into rows of soft drinks in his artwork entitled "Plasticizer" to express his speechlessness at use of plasticizer in food additives, in his studio at the 798 Art District in Beijing, China, on August 10, 2011. (AP Photo)

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This Big Picture post gives us a glimpse of daily life in parts of China, documented by wire photographers from the Associated Press, Reuters and Getty. The post begins with a short essay by Reuters photographer Jason Lee. Lee photographed six-year-old Wang Gengxiang, known as the "Masked Boy." Gengxiang was severely burned in an accident involving a burning pile of straw last winter. Most of the skin on the little boy's head was burned off, requiring him to wear a full surgical mask. The mask is said to prevent his scars from becoming infected. According to the local media in the village where Gengxiang was photographed, the doctors cannot continue his skin-graft surgery until his damaged trachea (or windpipe) is strong enough. The Lee essay is following by a black slide, and then more "slice of life" photography from a still somewhat mysterious China. -- Paula Nelson (50 photos total)
Wang Gengxiang on Children's Day, June 1, 2010, and after he was severely burned in an accident, at Mijiazhuang village on the outskirts of Fenyang, North China's Shanxi province, September 9, 2011. Gengxiang, age 6, known as "Masked Boy", was severely burned in an accident involving a burning pile of straw last winter. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

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This past weekend was filled with music festivals around the world -- from the 20th annual Lollapalooza in Chicago's Grant Park to the Beijing Forest Music Festival, from the Wacken Open Air Heavy Metal Music Fest in Germany to the Pentaport Rock Festival in South Korea, and much more. The photos below showcase performers and their fans during a musical weekend across the globe. [35 photos]

An umbrella rests on the grass near people enjoying a performance at the 2011 Beijing Forest Music Festival, near the Shuiguan section of the Great Wall on the outskirts of Beijing, on August 7, 2011. (Reuters/Jason Lee)

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From the Series “Mingongs”  Beijing 2005

Gilles Sabrié (b.1964) is an independent photographer based in Beijing. After years working in television, he switched careers to embrace documentary photography. Since then, he has focused on documenting social changes in China where he settled three years ago. Besides documenting major events such as the Beijing Olympics, and the Sichuan earthquake, Gilles has produced several stories such as 175 Meters (about the Three Gorges Dam) and the traveling opera. He has contributed to National Geographic’s “Inside China”, “9 days in the Kingdom” celebrating Thailand, and is the author of the web documentary Zhang, une jeunesse Chinoise for the French  broadcaster France 5. His work has been published in The New York Times, Newsweek, Time, Focus and L’Espresso. He is a regular contributor to the French daily Libération and runs a photo blog Un oeil sur la Chine.

About the Photograph:

“This picture is part of a series I did on the migrant-workers, the millions of people who migrate each year from the impoverished Chinese countryside to urban centers in search of a better life. The image was taken in a phone shop in a suburb of Beijing where low rent shacks are home to hundreds of them. A group of migrant workers on the phone and lining up to call relatives back home hundreds of miles away, where perhaps they will return to visit once a year at most.”

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