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About China's Children

In the Spring of 1980, Photographer Mike Emery was on board one of the first ever American passenger cruise ships sailing the China coast. No one on board had been to China, in fact, it was a seldom visited country for Westerners. Mike found himself arriving at a time of rapid change and excitement, with economic, political and cultural reforms sweeping the country. With his bright clothes, fair hair and camera, Mike stood out in the streets of the cities he visited in China. Local people were intrigued, as Mike played the clown to gauge reactions. He’d pull faces, poke out his tongue, even lay in the middle of the street to get noticed. Sometimes he’d get crowds up to 50 people, wanting to speak English or just satisfy their curiosity about this strange westerner. As a result, Mike was able to capture the essence of the time, both in people’s faces and the unique urban landscapes they inhabited.

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