Title

Seeing 2016 Through Eyes on China

Twenty Images from an Intimate Distance

  • An ethnic Uighur girl waits in a beauty salon to have her hair done before the Corban festival known elsewhere as Eid al-Adha, or “feast of the sacrifice,” in Turpan County, Xinjiang. Though Islam is one of five “officially recognized” religions in China, local officials often severely restrict Uighurs’ ability to practice their faith. These restrictions, as well as ethnic tensions, have fueled violence in Xinjiang and across China—violence that Beijing uses to justify further repression. Photo by Kevin Frayer @kevinfrayer
    An ethnic Uighur girl waits in a beauty salon to have her hair done before the Corban festival known elsewhere as Eid al-Adha, or “feast of the sacrifice,” in Turpan County, Xinjiang. Though Islam is one of five “officially recognized” religions in China, local officials often severely restrict Uighurs’ ability to practice their faith. These restrictions, as well as ethnic tensions, have fueled violence in Xinjiang and across China—violence that Beijing uses to justify further repression. Photo by Kevin Frayer @kevinfrayer
  • A couple dressed in wedding clothes tries to stay dry after a phots session in Qingdao. Photo by Chris Cherry @christophcherry
    A couple dressed in wedding clothes tries to stay dry after a phots session in Qingdao. Photo by Chris Cherry @christophcherry
  • Modern apartment buildings rise in the background, as a couple soaks in the sun on the roof of one of Hong Kong’s old buildings in the city’s business district. Housing stock remains a problem in Hong Kong, where a large population lives in cramped quarters and the city’s real estate remains among the most expensive in the world. Photo by Billy H.C. Kwok @billyhckwok
    Modern apartment buildings rise in the background, as a couple soaks in the sun on the roof of one of Hong Kong’s old buildings in the city’s business district. Housing stock remains a problem in Hong Kong, where a large population lives in cramped quarters and the city’s real estate remains among the most expensive in the world. Photo by Billy H.C. Kwok @billyhckwok
  • A group plays volleyball in front of the Young Heroes of the Revolution monument in Yuyuantan Park, Beijing. Photo by Laurent Hou @people_of_beijing
    A group plays volleyball in front of the Young Heroes of the Revolution monument in Yuyuantan Park, Beijing. Photo by Laurent Hou @people_of_beijing
  • In Beijing’s Taoranting Park, a group dressed in Maoist costumes dances a version of the jitterbug. Photo by Liu Bowen @lbwsmail
    In Beijing’s Taoranting Park, a group dressed in Maoist costumes dances a version of the jitterbug. Photo by Liu Bowen @lbwsmail
  • Mao impersonator Yang Chunlong poses for the photographer before a performance in Beijing. Photo by Matjaž Tančič @matjaztancic
    Mao impersonator Yang Chunlong poses for the photographer before a performance in Beijing. Photo by Matjaž Tančič @matjaztancic
  • Zhao Qiuying, left, sits with an elder-care robot called Ah Tie, while a staff caregiver looks after an elderly man in an adjacent bedroom at the Hangzhou Social Welfare Center, Zhejiang province. Photo by Chen Ronghui @chenronghui1989
    Zhao Qiuying, left, sits with an elder-care robot called Ah Tie, while a staff caregiver looks after an elderly man in an adjacent bedroom at the Hangzhou Social Welfare Center, Zhejiang province. Photo by Chen Ronghui @chenronghui1989
  • Staff wait for delegates to drink tea during the Second Plenary Session of the National People’s Congress outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photo by Fred Dufour @freddufour_afp
    Staff wait for delegates to drink tea during the Second Plenary Session of the National People’s Congress outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photo by Fred Dufour @freddufour_afp
  • Women wearing traditional dresses stand in front of a traditional building at Ditan Park, Beijing on the summer solstice. Photo by Giulia Marchi @giuliamarchiphoto
    Women wearing traditional dresses stand in front of a traditional building at Ditan Park, Beijing on the summer solstice. Photo by Giulia Marchi @giuliamarchiphoto
  • A couple makes its way uphill through wind and fog on Lushan, a mountain in Jiangxi province that has played host to cultural and political figures for centuries. Photo by Sim Chi Yin @chiyin_sim
    A couple makes its way uphill through wind and fog on Lushan, a mountain in Jiangxi province that has played host to cultural and political figures for centuries. Photo by Sim Chi Yin @chiyin_sim
  • A group of visitors on a Chinese junk boat tour Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong. Photo by Laurence Tan @findlaurence
    A group of visitors on a Chinese junk boat tour Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong. Photo by Laurence Tan @findlaurence
  • Sun Xuezhong and Yang Peipei in their Shanghai home. Photo by Olivia Martin-McGuire @livmartinmcguire
    Sun Xuezhong and Yang Peipei in their Shanghai home. Photo by Olivia Martin-McGuire @livmartinmcguire
  • Sun Wenlin and Hu Mingliang kiss during their illegal wedding ceremony in Changsha, Hunan province. Photo by Wu Yue @yuewoo
    Sun Wenlin and Hu Mingliang kiss during their illegal wedding ceremony in Changsha, Hunan province. Photo by Wu Yue @yuewoo
  • Three-year-old twin sisters Xinran and Xinyi play with their pet rabbits outside their home in Taizicheng Village, Hebei province. Photo by Yan Cong @yancongphoto
    Three-year-old twin sisters Xinran and Xinyi play with their pet rabbits outside their home in Taizicheng Village, Hebei province. Photo by Yan Cong @yancongphoto
  • Zheng Ruizhen combs her hair after taking a shower in her Shanghai home. She was one of the last holdouts in her neighborhood, until her husband finally signed away their home after local officials threatened to tear down the bathroom. The couple didn’t know how much compensation the Shanghai government was going to offer. Photo by Yuyang Liu @yuyang_liu_
    Zheng Ruizhen combs her hair after taking a shower in her Shanghai home. She was one of the last holdouts in her neighborhood, until her husband finally signed away their home after local officials threatened to tear down the bathroom. The couple didn’t know how much compensation the Shanghai government was going to offer. Photo by Yuyang Liu @yuyang_liu_
  • Aspiring Internet celebrities (a.k.a. hostesses) attend a product release presentation at a conference in Beijing. Every month, more than 85 million people watch live broadcasts on cellphone apps, according to QuestMobile. Photo by Liu Xingzhe @liuxingzhe
    Aspiring Internet celebrities (a.k.a. hostesses) attend a product release presentation at a conference in Beijing. Every month, more than 85 million people watch live broadcasts on cellphone apps, according to QuestMobile. Photo by Liu Xingzhe @liuxingzhe
  • Swallow, 14, sits with her caretakers, her grandfather and his partner, in their home. Her father died in an accident when she was younger and her mother lives and works in Yuncheng, the closest biggest city, but never visits or contacts her. Swallow says her dream is to visit family in Yuncheng, less than 31 miles away. Swallow benefits from the support of one of China’s growing number of ‘Barefoot Social Workers’—community-selected individuals who are trained by UNICEF to provide child protection and welfare services in rural villages. Photo by Sharron Lovell @sharron_l / UNICEF China
    Swallow, 14, sits with her caretakers, her grandfather and his partner, in their home. Her father died in an accident when she was younger and her mother lives and works in Yuncheng, the closest biggest city, but never visits or contacts her. Swallow says her dream is to visit family in Yuncheng, less than 31 miles away. Swallow benefits from the support of one of China’s growing number of ‘Barefoot Social Workers’—community-selected individuals who are trained by UNICEF to provide child protection and welfare services in rural villages. Photo by Sharron Lovell @sharron_l / UNICEF China
  • Outdoor disco dancing in Zizhuyuan Park, Beijing. Photo by Wu Hao @wuhaophotography
    Outdoor disco dancing in Zizhuyuan Park, Beijing. Photo by Wu Hao @wuhaophotography
  • In a renovated building in Wuzhen, a historic town in Zhejiang province, actors wait backstage during a staging of Moliere’s comedy “The Learned Ladies.” The troupe performed during a city theater festival. Photo by Gilles Sabrié @gillessabrie
    In a renovated building in Wuzhen, a historic town in Zhejiang province, actors wait backstage during a staging of Moliere’s comedy “The Learned Ladies.” The troupe performed during a city theater festival. Photo by Gilles Sabrié @gillessabrie
  • On the bank of the Chaobai River in Tianjin, retired firefighter Zhang Mengfan stands with Zhou Junqing, the mother of Jiang Shilei, who died in a massive chemical factory explosion in the city in 2015, one week before Jiang was supposed to be married. Following the explosion, Zhang embarked on a journey across China, visiting several of the families of the 110 firefighters killed in the explosion, eight of whom were his own colleagues. Photo by Zhou Na @zhounaphoto
    On the bank of the Chaobai River in Tianjin, retired firefighter Zhang Mengfan stands with Zhou Junqing, the mother of Jiang Shilei, who died in a massive chemical factory explosion in the city in 2015, one week before Jiang was supposed to be married. Following the explosion, Zhang embarked on a journey across China, visiting several of the families of the 110 firefighters killed in the explosion, eight of whom were his own colleagues. Photo by Zhou Na @zhounaphoto

In June 2015, a couple dozen China-based photographers—some Chinese, some not—founded the Instagram account Eyes on China. Their goal, as member photographer Gilles Sabrié put it, was to collectively create “a diverse, dynamic, and objective view” of the country where they worked. In the final weeks of 2016, ChinaFile collaborated with the group to assemble a gallery of images that eschews major news stories, looking back on the year from a more intimate distance.

David M. Barreda