The Watch

On a trip back to China in 2011, photographer Hai Zhang came across a crowd in the People’s Square of Wushan, a town outside of Chongqing. People had gathered to watch a gala sponsored by a local real estate developer to promote his new residential complex on the Yangtze River.

This picture says a lot about China. Especially today. The entire Western world spent nearly four decades hoping the country would move in a positive direction, predicting progress, courting the authorities. And now, all of a sudden, everyone is stunned and has no idea what to do, what they are doing. This is true not just of people outside the country but the people in it, too. They are puzzled and they are confused.

—Hai Zhang, November 2015