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September 24, 2010

Scenes from China

The past several months in China have brought devastating floods, a mysterious North Korean jet crash, the Mid-Autumn festival, crackdowns on gambling and much more. A country with nearly the same land area as the United States, China is home to over a billion more people than the U.S. (1.3 billion to be more precise), and as it grows economically, it is grappling with environmental, social and political issues that affect people and places around the world. Collected here, from the past several months, are photographs from around China, the land and the people - their daily lives, challenges, work and play. (43 photos total)

Tourists climb the Singing Sand Dunes near the Crescent Moon Spring on July 20, 2010 in Jiuquan of Gansu Province China. The Crescent Moon Spring, named after its unique moon-like shape, is located at the north foot of the Singing Sand Dunes, about 50 meters (164 feet) from north to south and 5 meters (16 feet) deep on an average. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

A participant takes part in a lassoing competition during the Nadam festival at a race ground in Xilin Gol League, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on August 1, 2010. (REUTERS/Patty Chen) #

Journalists take photos of flood water being released from the Three Gorges Dam's floodgates in Yichang, in central China's Hubei province on July 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Cheng Min) #

A Chinese Peking Opera performer waits for the opening ceremony of 12th Beijing International Tourism Festival at Qianmen Commercial Street, in Beijing on September 19, 2010. (REUTERS/Jason Lee) #

Hyundai automobiles move towards the paint shop at the Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. Ltd. and Hyundai Motor Co. factory in Beijing, China, on Monday, Aug. 9, 2010. (Nelson Ching/Bloomberg) #

Japanese adult actress Saori Hara (pink robe) and actor Hayama Hiro (blue robe), both wear 3D glasses as they watch a replay of their acting during the making of "3D Sex and Zen", with director Christopher Sun (standing, center) in Hong Kong on August 13, 2010. The producers are hoping the erotic period drama based in ancient China will prove a titillating hit with 3D-glasses-wearing audiences and develop a lucrative, niche market for pornography productions in future. (REUTERS/Bobby Yip) #

A military officer helps members of an honor guard line up before the arrival of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #

Floods run through a newly built residential area in Yingxiu town of Wenchuan county, in southwest China's Sichuan province on Aug. 15, 2010. (AP Photo) #

A landslide swept aside buildings at the village of Wangong village in Hanyuan county in Ya'an of southwest China's Sichuan province on July 27, 2010. Rescuers searched for 21 people missing after a landslide in Hanyuan County in China's southern province of Sichuan on Tuesday morning, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Rocks and mud buried 58 homes and about 4,000 villagers were evacuated from their homes. (AP Photo) #

Officials inspect a train on a bridge after passengers were evacuated near Guanghan in southwest China's Sichuan province on August 19, 2010 an area hit hard by flooding that plagued China for weeks. The train traveling in southwestern China derailed after floods destroyed the bridge, plunging at least two carriages into a river, but all passengers were safe. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #

A woman sits under her umbrella in People's Square in Shanghai during a heavy rain storm on August 3, 2010. (REUTERS/Aly Song) #

Building debris near an explosion site in Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu province on Wednesday July 28, 2010. A powerful blast caused by a suspected gas leak rocked a plastics factory in eastern China on Wednesday, killing at least five people and seriously injuring 28. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Sun Can) #

Inmates listen to a speech at Taiyuan No.1 prison in Taiyuan, Shanxi province September 1, 2010. Some 1,000 inmates attended the speech which was considered one of the educational and reformation measures organized by the prison, local media reported. (REUTERS/Stringer) #

Workers clean the exterior of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Shanghai September 17, 2010. (REUTERS/Aly Song) #

A Hui ethnic minority mother holds her daughter while standing in front of their house at Xinyuan Village on July 18, 2010 in Yinchuan, China. The Hui ethnic minority are descended from the Arabic and Persian merchants who came to China during the 7th century. With a population of 10 million, the majority of the group lives in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, however there are Hui living in almost all the provinces and cities of China. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #

A statue with graffiti written on it stands in front of residential and government buildings under construction on land previously used for farming in the town of Gushi in Henan province. Gushi, a county some thousand kilometers south of Beijing, is a microcosm of the urbanization tide reshaping China, driving investment to the country's poorer interior, devouring farmland and creating cities that will absorb more residents than the total population of the United States in coming decades. (REUTERS/David Gray) #

A crashed aircraft is seen in this picture distributed by Yonhap news agency on August 18, 2010. The aircraft which crashed in northeast China was thought be a plane from North Korea, China's official Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday, citing unnamed government authorities. The aircraft came down in Liaoning province on Tuesday, prompting reports by South Korea's Yonhap news agency and Chinese Internet speculation that it was a North Korean military aircraft flown by a pilot trying to flee the poor and isolated country. (REUTERS/Yonhap) #

A worker arranges confiscated video game and gambling machines before destroying them in Jinan, Shandong province September 8, 2010. Local police destroyed about 600 video game machines used for gambling as part of its anti-gambling operations, local media reported. (REUTERS/Stringer) #

Illegal gamblers are seen after they were arrested in Kunming, Yunnan province, September 6, 2010. Local police arrested 91 gamblers and seized over 100,000 yuan ($14,738) and more than 20 vehicles, local media reported. (REUTERS/Wong Campion) #

A Chinese rescuer (center left) prepares to help airlift the crew off the damaged oil rig on the Shengli oil field off Dongying in northeast China's Shandong province on September 8, 2010. Two oil workers were missing but more than 30 others were rescued from a listing Sinopec rig off China's northeast coast, the government said, as the company insisted no oil was spilled. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #

Young Chinese women hold batons as they take part in a practice session at a dance center in Hefei, east China's Anhui province on July 26, 2010. Sexy and creative modern dance is becoming increasingly popular as Chinese society becomes more open, allowing different trends to gain wider acceptance, especially by urban white collar women who can now lead more colorful lives. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images) #

Fishing boats sail through the sea to resume fishing after a two-month annual ban imposed by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, at Shenjiamen fishing harbor in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province on Aug. 1, 2010. (AP Photo) #

Nurses attend a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the founding of Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, in Shenzhen city, south Chinas Guangdong province on Monday, Sept. 6, 2010. Shenzhen was once regarded as one of China's most successful special economic zones under the economic liberalization policies championed by the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung) #

A student is helped by an instructor as she decorates a cake during a cooking class at a youth recreation center in Shenyang, Liaoning province September 24, 2010. The center conducts several weekend courses for children such as fencing, taekwondo, dancing and cooking. (REUTERS/Sheng Li) #

Chinese women lay straw in a grid to prevent the sand from drifting in the wind in the desert of Baijitan Conservation Area near Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region on July 17, 2010. Almost 800 million hectares of farmland have been turning into desert over the past few decades; many people including the government have been trying to reverse this trend. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #

An artist works on a customer at the National Tattoo Competition in Shenyang, Liaoning province August 6, 2010. Some 100 tattoo artists from all over the nation compete in "traditional", "western", "black and white" and "colored" categories during the three-day competition from Friday, local media said. (REUTERS/Sheng Li) #

Paramilitary policemen take part in a training session in a river on the outskirts of Jiaxing, Zhejiang province July 30, 2010. (REUTERS/Stringer Shanghai) #

A resident hangs clothes to dry in the sun in front of a row of newly built apartment buildings in Hefei, Anhui province September 24, 2010. (REUTERS/Stringer) #

A hazy valley is seen below a hiker's trail near rock formations at Mount Danxia in the northern part of Guangdong province on August 9, 2006. Mount Danxia, famed for its rugged red landscapes that emerged from river silt deposits, was one of six sites which won World Heritage status on August 1, 2010 from a UNESCO panel meeting in Brazil. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images) #

Participants run during a mud racing competition held by the local tourism organization in Daishan county, Zhejiang province July 19, 2010. (REUTERS/Lang Lang) #

A man walks past a monument marking the September 18th Incident in Shenyang, Liaoning province on September 17, 2010. This year marked the 79th anniversary of the September 18th, 1931 Mukden Incident - a railroad bombing that led to Japan laying siege to Mukden (now Shenyang) and beginning the military occupation of northeast China, then known as Manchuria - the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War. (REUTERS/Sheng Li) #

Pupils salute during a flag raising ceremony on their first day of the new semester at Youfuxijie primary school in Nanjing, Jiangsu province on September 1, 2010. (REUTERS/Sean Yong) #

Han Ziwen celebrates his purchase of the first Apple iPad tablet computer in China at the Apple store in Beijing on September 17, 2010 as Apple began selling iPads in China. (ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images) #

A visitor prays as she burns joss sticks at the City God Temple in Shanghai on the Mid-Autumn Festival Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) #

A military officer instructs college freshmen during a military training program at a college in Suining, Sichuan province September 9, 2010. Most Chinese university students are required to go through military training to enhance patriotism and self-discipline when they enter universities in China. (REUTERS/Stringer) #

Attendants place biodegradable urns on a table at a cemetery in Tianjin, northern China, for a collective eco-burial on July 20, 2010. In a country with 10 million deaths per year, China still faces hurdles promoting environmentally-friendly types of funeral and interment like sea-burials and cremation, which was first encouraged in the 1950's and currently accounts for nearly half of the interments nationwide. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Chinese woman poses for souvenir photo at a lavender farm on the outskirts of Beijing, China Sunday, Aug. 1, 2010. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #

A worker walks out of a factory building outfitted with nets, installed to prevent workers from jumping to their deaths, at a Foxconn factory, in Langfang, Hebei Province August 3, 2010. There have been nearly a dozen suicides at Foxconn plants around China this year alone, prompting calls for investigations into poor working conditions at the plants that make parts for customers such as Apple, HP and Dell. (REUTERS/Jason Lee) #

Children play as villagers gather their belongings together while relocating to make way for the South-North Water Diversion Project in Yunxian county, Hubei province August 29, 2010. The relocation for the building of the central route of the project, which will be finished by 2014, will involve 330,000 residents - 180,000 in Hubei and 150,000 in the neighboring Henan province. The project is designed to take water from a section of China's largest river, the Yangtze, to satisfy demand in north China's drought-prone megacities - Beijing and Tianjin, Xinhua News Agency reported. (REUTERS/Kevin Zhao) #

A worker inspects lettuce plants growing under artificial light and in a liquid solution at China's first computer-controlled greenhouse seedling factory located on the outskirts of Beijing August 27, 2010. The factory will supply 15 million pesticide-free vegetable, fruit and flower seedlings per year to domestic growers, China's Xinhua News Agency reported. (REUTERS/David Gray) #

A trader rests at the stock exchange in Hong Kong on September 2, 2010. (MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images) #

Chinese students practice marching under the supervision of a PLA soldier during their one week of first-year high school military service at a military base in Hefei, east China's Anhui province on August 5, 2010. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #

Chinese babies accompanied by their parents take part in a baby swimming contest, which the organizer hopes to break the Guinness World Record for the most babies swimming together, at a stadium in Beijing September 11, 2010. China's government maintains that the one child policy has averted 400 million births since the strict policy implemented in 1979 and has vowed to enforce it until at least 2033, when the population is expected to peak at 1.5 billion people. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #