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New China, the big picture
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1981, a student at the Dalian Institute of Technology skates past a statue of Chairman Mao Zedong, once a popular monument found in virtually every Chinese city and town. Western media used this image as symbolic of the dawn of a new era in China. [China Daily] 

Liu insists his perspective is far removed from the usual Western stereotype of China.

The most eye-catching photos are those shot by veteran "red-color news soldiers" (propaganda photographers) like Meng Zhaorui, Li Zhensheng and Weng Naiqiang, depicting people's fervent admiration for late Chinese leader Mao Zedong; those by Hou Bo that reveal the private lives of Mao and his family; and Du Xiuxian's photos of Mao and other Chinese leaders at grand and solemn occasions.

Noteworthy in another way are Xiao Zhuang's photos showing everyday folk at key times in the history of New China; Jiang Shaowu's disturbing photos of chaotic and cruel scenes during the "cultural revolution" (1966-76); and Liu Heung Shing's photos capturing the emergence of non-official artists like the Stars Painting Group in the late 1980s; and photos by younger artists on a wide range of social topics, including migrant workers in manufacturing plants, the staging of the Beijing Olympics, the launch of the Shenzhou spacecrafts, the boom towns and the consequences of industrial pollution.

"It is a very impressive exhibition and shows a great variety of Chinese society's latest history," says the CEO of Mercedes-Benz China, Klaus Maier, who has lived here for several years.

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