A Town Behind the Wall

Wuxi, Jiangsu, China

The streets and train lines of China offer amazing views of countrysides and city life throughout China. Modernity has brought bullet trains, hydraulic buses and international airports throughout China. The sprawling mass-transit in China has opened a country to a generation of travelers that in the recent past had been incredibly difficult to enjoy. Online bookings, smart phone translators and a focus on English education has opened the door to both the largest cities and most remote indigenous regions.

China’s nod toward the international travelers is an  exciting opportunity for me to explore the diverse cultural tapestry in the world’s most populous country. When I accepted the chance to come to China I began searching for the most far-flung corners of China and plotted my train routes around the country. The itinerary’s nearly wrote themselves in my notebooks and it seemed as if Netflix was finding specials faster than I could take notes.

It would not take long for me to realize that even in China’s largest cities there were cultures that had been hidden behind from not only the tourists, but from anyone wealthy enough to catch a ride on the new bullet trains or the elevated inter-city highways. Billboard clad walls had been erected around crumbling old towns that are homes to the generation of Chinese grandparents who suffered through the slowly changing second half of the 20th century. I am only beginning to understand the history of this country and the people who live in both the hidden towns and the high rises that tower in the distance.

These photographs are the beginning of an evolving collection  from towns that I have been lucky enough to find behind the walls of China.

To see the rest of the gallery and more images from around the world please visit M. James Thompson Photography

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