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September 24, 2012

Scenes from China

Next Monday China celebrates National Day as the country prepares for a political transition, one that will see the new leaders taking the helm of perhaps the world's most dynamic society. It seems an opportune time to look at life in 中国, the Middle Kingdom. Change and progress have come at a dizzying pace in the last couple of decades, making the People's Republic of China politically, culturally, economically, and militarily a power player on the world stage. Many issues challenge the incoming government. A territorial dispute with Japan over some islands off Taiwan is opening old wounds from WWII. A corruption and murder scandal involving a high ranking official comes at an embarrassing time. And the country's juggernaut economy finds itself in the 11th straight month of stagnation. But at the same time, an increasingly colorful society celebrates the continued vibrant awakening transforming the largest population in the world. Gathered here are images providing a glimpse of life from many parts of the country, including Hong Kong - which has now been under mainland control for 15 years. -- Lane Turner (44 photos total)

An actor performs a re-enactment of the Red Army battles and the beginning of the Long March in Jinggangshan, China on September 20, 2012. In 1927, communist leaders fled with a few thousand supporters to the hills of Jinggangshan, hounded and outnumbered by Nationalist forces. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

A cosplay fan pauses during the Animation and Comics Fair at the National Agricultural Exhibition Center in Beijing on August 23, 2012. (Mark Ralston/AFP/GettyImages) #

Liu Yang, China's first female astronaut, waves as she comes out from the re-entry capsule of China's Shenzhou 9 spacecraft in Siziwang Banner, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on June 29, 2012. China's Shenzhou 9 spacecraft put the country's first woman in space and completed a manned docking test critical to its goal of building a space station by 2020. (China Daily/Reuters) #

Workers check a solar panel at a field in Hami, in China's far west Xinjiang region on August 6, 2012. (Stringer/AFP/GettyImages) #

An employee inspects an electric car to be exported to the US at a Tianjin Qingyuan Electric Vehicle Co. Ltd. factory in Tianjin on November 20, 2009. (Vincent Du/Reuters) #

An employee walks past columns of steel at a factory in Wuhan, China on August 2, 2012. China's vast manufacturing sector has been badly hit by slowing new orders. (Stringer/Reuters) #

Pedestrians are reflected in a shopping district in Hong Kong on February 13, 2012. (Antony Dickson/AFP/Getty Images) #

Residents dance next to the Yangtze River in Badong, China on August 8, 2012. (Carlos Barria/Reuters) #

Blocks of Sceneway Garden estate stand in the Lam Tin area of Hong Kong on September 4, 2012. (Daniel J. Groshong/Bloomberg) #

A visitor tastes wine behind a decorated glass window during Vinexpo Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong on May 29, 2012. (Bobby Yip/Reuters) #

A bus driver waits for passengers in Jinggangshan, China on September 20, 2012. (Carlos Barria/Reuters) #

A woman takes pictures of lanterns as she visits the Shanghai International Lantern Festival in Luxun Park in the Hongkou district in Shanghai on September 12, 2012. (Carlos Barria/Reuters) #

An ethnic Uighur boy makes mulberry paper with his grandfather in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region on August 23, 2012. (Stringer/Reuters) #

Customers shop for fruit in a hutong in Beijing on August 20, 2012. (Nelson Ching/Bloomberg) #

Rescuers and relatives stop a woman from committing suicide by jumping off a building in Zhanjiang, China on August 14, 2012. The woman tried to commit suicide after killing her nephew following a family dispute. (Stringer/Reuters) #

A Tibetan demonstrates his riding skill during a traditional horse race to celebrate the annual Ongkor Festival for the harvest time in Yumbu-Lha Khang in west China's Tibet Autonomous Region on August 1, 2012. (Associated Press) #

Paramilitary policemen jump above their fellow policemen's arms as they take part in psychological training in Tongling, China on August 28, 2012. (China Daily/Reuters) #

Students practice moves at a pole dancing club in Wuhan, China on August 31, 2012. (Stringer/Reuters) #

Visitors at a small outdoor market walk past paintings for sale in central Beijing on September 8, 2012. (David Gray/Reuters) #

Guests arrive at Vogue's Fashion's Night Out: Shopping Night with Celebrities event at a hotel in downtown Shanghai on September 7, 2012. The night ends with a shopping marathon with Chanel, Prada and Louis Vuitton. (Carlos Barria/Reuters) #

A farmer walks with his herd of sheep along the side of a road on the outskirts of Beijing on September 7, 2012. (David Gray/Reuters) #

Over 400 exhibitors show wares at the 15th Chengdu Motor Show in Chengdu, China on August 31, 2012. (Stringer/AFP/GettyImages) #

A parent carries a school desk as a child carries a stool for the first day of school in a village in Macheng, China, where more than 3000 other students have to bring their own desks to school. Chinese children spend an average of 8.6 hours a day in school, with some spending 12 hours in the classroom, according to a 2007 survey. (Stringer/AFP/GettyImages) #

Parents of freshmen students sleep on mats laid out on the floor of a gymnasium at Huazhong Normal University in Wuhan, China on September 8, 2012. (Stringer/Reuters) #

A vendor lies on the ground as he waits for customers in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region on September 9, 2012. (Stringer/Reuters) #

A vendor stands in front of roadside stalls in Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region on September 15, 2012. (Stringer/Reuters) #

A woman walks near a residential area under construction in Chongqing municipality on March 13, 2012. (Stringer/Reuters) #

A nurse feeds a 69-year-old injured survivor his lunch at a temporary hospital in Luozehe town after two earthquakes hit Yiliang, Yunnan province on September 10, 2012. (Jason Lee/Reuters) #

Quake survivors rest September 9, 2012 at an emergency relief center in Yiliang, China after two 5.6-magnitude quakes rocked southwestern Guizhou and Yunan provinces. (Stringer/AFP/GettyImages) #

A pedestrian walks past the central business district in Hong Kong on May 8, 2012. (Antony Dickson/AFP/Getty Images) #

Workmen stand on scaffolding underneath a railway bridge outside Beijing on September 13, 2012. (David Gray/Reuters) #

Containers are loaded by workers in Qingdao on September 9, 2012. (Stringer/AFP/GettyImages) #

Workers demolish a residential site in downtown Shanghai on September 5, 2012. (Aly Song/Reuters) #

The Three Gorges Hotel and the passenger terminal of Chongqing port are toppled in a controlled explosion to make way for new skyscrapers on August 31, 2012. (Stringer/AFP/GettyImages) #

A worker frowns inside a plant which crushes rocks to produce construction materials in the Gobi Desert in Aksu, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region on September 14, 2012. (Stringer/Reuters) #

Tibetan Buddhists and tourists view a huge Thangka, a religious silk embroidery or painting displaying the Buddha portrait, during the Shoton Festival at Zhaibung Monastery in Lhasa on August 17, 2012. (China Daily/Reuters)#

People take part in a a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong on June 4, 2012 to mark the crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989. (Philippe Lopez/AFP/GettyImages)#

A worker walks past a pile of iron ore from Australia at a port in Tianjin on March 29, 2010. (Vincent Du/Reuters)#

Residential buildings stand in the Tin Shui Wai area in Hong Kong on March 3, 2012. (Jerome Favre/Bloomberg News)#

A haze of heavy pollution shrouds Hong Kong on August 3, 2012 for the third consecutive day as air pollutant readings broke records going back to 1999. (Philippe Lopez/AFP/GettyImages)#

Relatives of Hong Kong activists stand at the windows of their boat in Hong Kong's Victoria harbor on August 22, 2012 following its return from Japan. The pro-Beijing activists who sailed to the disputed Senkuki or Diaoyu islands were deported from Japan on August 17 after landing on the island. (Philippe Lopez/AFP/GettyImages)#

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (center) opens a ballot box at a ballot counting center in Hong Kong on September 10, 2012. Hong Kong voters went to the polls on September 9 in legislative elections seen as a crucial test for the Beijing-backed government, as calls for full democracy grow and disenchantment with Chinese rule surges. (Philippe Lopez/AFP/GettyImages)#

Protesters hold their position during an eviction process from the HSBC bank headquarters in Hong Kong on September 11, 2012. Hong Kong "Occupy" protesters scuffled with bailiffs who began evicting them from their camp. (Philippe Lopez/AFP/GettyImages)#

A demonstrator shouts near the Japanese consulate during a protest on the 81st anniversary of Japan's invasion of China, in Shanghai on September 18, 2012. Japanese businesses shut hundreds of stores and plants and the country's embassy suspended services in China as anti-Japan protests raged. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)#