Scenes From 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. [42 photos total]

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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) #
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) #
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) #
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) #
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) #
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) #
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) #
(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) #
(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. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #

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