Shanghai Staff Photographer
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May 15, 2014
via Photographers' Blog

China’s sea burials

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Shanghai, China

By Carlos Barria

Before Li Zhenxuan died at the age of 101, the former chief officer of a riverboat told his son he wanted to be buried at sea with his mother, who passed away in 1965, and his wife, who died in 1995.

On a rainy Saturday this month, his son released three bags of ashes into the wind and sea from a boat near the mouth of the Yangtze River, and Li’s final wish was granted. Faced with a growing population, soaring property prices and increasingly scarce land resources, the Chinese government has been trying for years to convince more people to break with tradition and bury loved ones at sea, like Li. The practice has been slow to catch on. Many older Chinese oppose cremation and prefer to be buried beside ancestors, according to tradition, ideally on a verdant hillside with the proper ‘feng shui’.

May 15, 2014

As attitudes change in China, people look to the sea for burial

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Before Li Zhenxuan died at the age 101, the former chief officer of a Chinese riverboat told his son he wanted his ashes to be spread at sea along with those of his mother, who passed away in 1965, and his wife, who died in 1995.

On a rainy Saturday this month, his son poured three bags of ashes into the wind and sea from a boat near the mouth of the Yangtze River, and Li’s final wish was granted.

Dec 16, 2013
via Photographers' Blog

The teachings of Mao

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Sitong, China

By Carlos Barria

In a remote farming area of China’s central province of Henan, kids are roused from their warm beds at 5 a.m. as revolutionary songs play over the loudspeaker system. In the freezing morning they gather around a cement courtyard for their morning exercises.

Mr. Xia Zuhai, principal of the Democracy Elementary and Middle school — where the curriculum stresses the teachings of China’s late Chairman Mao Zedong — blows his whistle and encourages the students while they run around in the darkness for 20 minutes.

Dec 16, 2013

In rural China, teacher upholds Mao Thought to save the world

SITONG, China (Reuters) – In a remote part of China, the day starts at the Democracy Elementary and Middle School with a pre-dawn jog, some revolutionary songs and then an activity long-since forgotten at other schools: reciting quotations from Mao Zedong’s “Little Red Book”.

While the ruling Communist Party that Mao led holds him in esteem as the leader of the Communist Revolution, his radical policies and teachings have been largely shelved since his death in 1976 in favor of a pro-market approach that has turned China from a backwater into the world’s second biggest economy.

Aug 29, 2013
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The most wanted photograph in China

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Jinan, China

By Carlos Barria

As the morning approached, reporters, photographers and cameramen from national and foreign media organizations gathered outside the Jinan Intermediate People’s Court to cover the final chapter in the trial of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai.

The stage for this story was Jinan, in the northeastern coastal province of Shandong. This story had all the elements of a great thriller: power, corruption, romance and murder. With no access to the courtroom itself, the foreign media and the general public relied on images provided by the court for glimpses of the trial. Also, for the first time China’s judicial system provided court transcripts, published on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.

Aug 7, 2013
via Photographers' Blog

Inside Mongolia’s Ger District

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Ulan Bator, Mongolia

By Carlos Barria

As the sun tucks behind the hills near the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator, Baljirjantsan Otgonseren, 32, walks out of her “Ger,” a traditional Mongolian tent, looking for her daughter. The girl is watching the last sunbeams of the day stretch over the settlement known as the Ger District — a sprawling residential area that has grown so fast in ten years, it has evolved from a transient slum to a legal residential zone.

Like many other residents, Otgonseren and her family migrated from the grasslands to the capital looking for better opportunities. They left behind a traditional nomadic lifestyle in favor of city life and a shot at participating in their country’s rapid economic growth. Recent natural disasters have played a part too. For example, the 2010 “Zud,” a Mongolian term for an extremely snowy period, helped convince many to settle in one place for good.

Jul 2, 2013

Mongolia neo-Nazis announce a change of tack – pollution control

ULAN BATOR, July 2 (Reuters) – A Mongolian neo-Nazi group
has rebranded itself as an environmentalist organisation
fighting pollution by foreign-owned mines, seeking legitimacy as
it sends Swastika-wearing members to check mining permits.

Tsagaan Khass, or White Swastika, has only 100-plus members
but it is one of several groups with names like Dayar Mongol
(Whole Mongolia), Gal Undesten (Fire Nation) and Khukh Mongol
(Blue Mongolia), expanding a wave of resource nationalism as
foreign firms seek to exploit the mineral wealth of the vast
country, landlocked between Russia and China.

May 13, 2013
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China’s easy riders

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Qian Dao Lake, China

By Carlos Barria

“They’re not scared of you. They’re scared of what you represent to them.”
“Hey, man. All we represent to them, man, is somebody who needs a haircut.”
“Oh, no. What you represent to them is freedom.”

– from the movie Easy Rider

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A girl arrives at the parking lot wearing tiny leather shorts and sits on the back of a bike with a horse power of more than 1,000 CC. Next to her a man gets ready to ride, wearing a skeleton mask. It’s more than a fashion show, it’s an extravaganza on two wheels along Chinese roads.

Apr 23, 2013
via Photographers' Blog

Muscle men of China

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Shaoxing, China

By Carlos Barria

Feng Qing Ji, 69, and his younger brother Yu, 61, look at themselves in a mirror. Li tries to help Yu with his pose. He tells him to straighten his back.

They are not in a park, hanging around with other Chinese seniors, who typically meet up to play Mahjong or dance. They are covered in oil and wearing tiny speedos as they prepare for an amateur bodybuilder competition in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province.

Feb 1, 2013
via Photographers' Blog

The long trip home

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Shanghai, China

By Carlos Barria

There was not much emotion left after crossing central China on a 50-hour train and bus journey. Just a soft touch on the face and a forced hug was all that Li Jiangzhon and his sister Li Jiangchun got from their parents after a long year of absence.

They are just one story among millions of Chinese migrant workers, who have to leave their loved ones behind to look for a better future for themselves and their families.

    • About Carlos

      "After six years in Miami, Carlos, 31, has been assigned as photographer based in Shanghai, China. He was born in Patagonia, in the south of Argentina, and studied photography in Buenos Aires. He has covered breaking news, sports and features in the Americas, the Middle East, Iraq, and Afghanistan. In 2007 Carlos was named Photographer of the Year by Reuters."
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