As China's population and economy continue to grow, the country is scrambling to solve challenges in housing, elder care, cultural and political institutions, the environment, and other areas of everyday life. Today's collection, a recent gathering of images from across the nation, covers a range of subjects from wheelchair dancers to bear bile farms, a monkey-controlled robot arm to a Tibetan exile protester who set himself on fire earlier today, and much more.
A woman and her son sit inside the capsule of an electric tricycle as they drive along a main road in central Beijing, on March 15, 2012.
Paddy fields cover a hillside in the mountainous region of Yuanyang, southwest China's Yunnan province, on March 11, 2012. The world's deforestation rate has accelerated to 15.8 million acres a year, a new UN survey showed but Asia showed net gains in forest land-use largely due to extensive planting in China.
Physically disabled dancers practice at a disabled persons activity center in Beijing, on February 28, 2012. Two times a week, a group of 42 dancers including 24 women with physical disabilities, from the commonwealth organization of the Beijing Disabled Dance Team practice modern dance using wheelchairs.
Jianhui, a 5-year-old monkey, controls a mechanical arm via brain signals in a laboratory of Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, on February 23, 2012. A tiny sensor implanted in Jianhui's brain allows the monkey to control the mechanical arm, reaching and grabbing food and drinks, scientists with east China's Zhejiang University announced.
This is an interactive then/now photo - click image to view a transition. The first photograph shows a block of residential apartments in downtown Shanghai on March 23, 2008. Click on the image to see the changes that have happened on same site six years later, on March 9, 2012. [click image to view transition]
(1 of 4) Huang Sufang reacts as she sees a part of her house being taken down by demolition workers at Yangji village in central Guangzhou city, on March 21, 2012. Huang, who is a resident of Yangji village, clashed with demolition workers as they mistakenly took down a part of her home, which was not included in the demolition project.
Monks gather to pray at the Labrang monastery prior Tibetan New Year in Xiahe county, Gansu Province, on February 21, 2012. Tibetans in northwest China marked a tense traditional new year on Wednesday with prayer, the sounding of gongs and subdued defiance in the wake of a string of self-immolations and protests against Chinese control.
A worker puts on eyelashes for an inflatable sex doll at Ningbo Yamei plastic toy factory, on the outskirts of Fenghua, Zhejiang province, on February 13, 2012. The company started producing sex dolls three years ago, and now sells a total of 13 types of dolls at the average price of 100 RMB (16 USD). More than 50,000 sex dolls were sold last year, about fifteen percent of which were exported to Japan, Korea and Turkey, according to the company.
A laborer sits on a track in front of a light source as he rests between two track-laying vehicles in a subway tunnel that is under construction in Wuhan, Hubei province, on March 10, 2012. The 27.98 km (17.4 mi) line, the first phase of Wuhan Subway Line II, the first subway to cross the Yangtze River, will link districts of both Wuchang and Hankou, and will open to traffic within this year, Xinhua News Agency reported.
Chinese villagers carry pails of water they collected from a well back to their homes in Yiliang, southwest China's Yunnan province, on February 27, 2012. A drought in Yunnan province has left 3.19 million people and 1.58 million livestock short of drinking water, the provincial government said, as drought and low rainfall in the three consecutive years have dried up 273 rivers and 413 small reservoirs in the province.
An elderly man peers from a door in a nursing home in Hefei, Anhui province, on March 20, 2012. China's efforts to overhaul the world's biggest healthcare system and the increased medical care demanded by a more prosperous and aging nation will push costs higher, according to Health Minister Chen Zhu.
A worker prepares to milk cows on a 100-acre farm managed by New Zealand dairy export giant Fonterra Co-operative Group in Yutian County, Hebei Province, on March 15, 2012. The dairy farm is part of a new international investment strategy by Fonterra, the world's largest dairy cooperative, that involves the building and operating of its own modern large-scale dairy farms, so it can be certain of the quality of the dairy products it sells. The investment comes after a 2008 scandal where some baby formula sold in China was fatally
Ethnic Tibetan women pray around the Labrang Monastery ahead of the Tibetan New Year in Xiahe county, Gansu Province, on February 21, 2012.
Nan Weiping, 41, practices playing a musical instrument made of carrots and scallions in Beijing, on March 1, 2012. Nan and his brother Nan Weidong, 43, are musicians who specialize in performing with instruments made of vegetables and other groceries. They became famous after participating in many television talent shows in China.
A bodyguard trainee steps on the stomachs of other trainees during a training session in Sanya, Hainan province, on March 17, 2012. All trainees will have to undergo 10 months of training to develop sufficient skills to serve their clients, according to Tianjiao Special Guard/Security Consultant Ltd. Co. The company will then offer the best trainee a chance to attend further study at the International Security Academy in Israel.
Bears paw at the wall of an enclosure in one of the traditional Chinese medicine company Guizhentang's controversial bear bile farms in Hui'an, southeast China's Fujian province, on February 22, 2012. Bear bile has long been used in China to treat various health problems, despite skepticism over its effectiveness and outrage over the bile extraction process, which animal rights group say is excruciatingly painful for bears.
A group of Chinese women dancers gather to practice their routine on a snow-covered lake in Changchun, Jilin province, on February 24, 2012. Winter activities are especially popular amongst the elderly and retired as they are believed to improve circulation and benefit health, increase the level of mental awareness, release stress, remove aches and pains, increase vitality and keep skin looking younger.
A policeman uses a mobile phone to take a photo of his comrades carrying a dead wolf, while residents follow behind, in Tengzhou, Shandong province, on March 19, 2012. Shandong police shot a wolf dead on Monday after seven suspected wolf attacks on people in Tengzhou in six days. However, the police have not confirmed that the dead wolf is the one that attacked the local residents.
Li Jingchun (top), a 58-year-old farmer, watches as his family members work on his self-made aircraft on top of his house in Xiahe village located in Shenyang, Liaoning province, on February 28, 2012. The 5m long, 1.5m wide plane, mostly made of recycled iron plates, cost the aircraft enthusiast and his family two years and more than 40,000 yuan ($6,349), according to local media.
A diabetes patient has her tongue photographed for records before seeing diabetes specialist Doctor Tong Xiao Lin at the Guanganmen Chinese medicine Hospital in Beijing, on March 19, 2012. In 30 years, the Chinese people have gone from having barely enough to eat to worrying about chronic diseases like diabetes, leaving the healthcare system struggling with a condition that is rapidly outpacing its ability to keep up. Spending on diabetes reached $25 billion in China in 2010, only 6 percent of the $390 billion spent worldwide. But the rate of diabetes in China is already at the same levels as in the West, leaving doctors, drug companies and policymakers to hunt for low-cost alternatives before the disease swamps the rudimentary healthcare system.
- A Tibetan exile runs after setting himself on fire during a protest against the upcoming visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to India in New Delhi, on March 26, 2012. At least 16 Tibetans are believed to have died after setting themselves on fire in protest since March, most of them Buddhist monks in Tibetan parts of Sichuan and Gansu provinces.