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In Pursuit of a Better Life

Photo exhibition on 70 years of the People’s Republic of China, Berliner Freiheit from Nov 23-29.

Image for In Pursuit of a Better Life

Photo by Tang Mingang. A shadow puppet show is held in a pit yard in Pingliang, Gansu Province, in August 2017. Both the pit yard and puppet show are aspects of endangered local cultural heritage.

On 1 October 1949, a crowd of hundreds of thousands in Tian’anmen Square watched as Chairman Mao Zedong declared the birth of a new Chinese nation. The country was poor and devastated by successive wars. On that day, no one could have imagined how Chinese people’s lives would change over the next seven decades. 

This year is the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). To mark the occasion, a special exhibition titled “In Pursuit of a Better Life” will be held in Berlin at the Berliner Freiheit from November 23 – 29. The event is hosted by China Image Group and organized by China International Culture & Image Communication Corporation. 

“In Pursuit of a Better Life” tells the stories of how China has been transformed from the backwards country of 1949 into the world’s second largest economy today. Images specially chosen from Xinhua’s vast photo archives take viewers on a visual journey over 70 years across all corners of China’s diverse geography. 

Along the way, momentous shifts are captured through intimate portraits of Chinese people at work, rest and play. From the birth of the PRC, through the collective era and on to Reform and Opening-Up, the exhibition presents a kaleidoscope of changing lifestyles, fashions, diets, and landscapes. 

Candid photos of everyday life trace milestones in agriculture, commerce, culture, education, healthcare, and sports. As the decades progress, roads and railways stretch out across China. Workers uniforms and standardized haircuts give way to denim jeans, miniskirts and ever-changing hairstyles. Lives are changed by technology. Athletes race to Olympic glory. Yet, as Chinese people strive forward and embrace the outside world, images of tradition and festivals remind us of their enduring links to China’s rich history and culture. 

The exhibition also highlights the development of ties between China and Germany over the years. From visiting German bands that gave local people their first taste of rock music to Chinese acrobats in Germany, the images are testament to deepening bilateral exchange in industry, culture, and tourism. 

Above all else, “Pursuit of a Better Life” is the remarkable story of how China reached the present day through the efforts of its people to build a brighter world for themselves and future generations. 

In Pursuit of a Better Life | Berliner Freiheit, Tiergarten. Nov 23 through Nov 29.