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At the Red Army School

Monday 2 February 2015 - Eye witness

Children sing after raising the national flag at the Beichuan Red army elementary school in southwest China's Sichuan province on January 21, 2015 (AFP PHOTO / FRED DUFOUR)

"In this primary school in Beichuan, in Sichuan province, the students wear the uniform of the Chinese Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army, as the armed wing of the Communist Party was known during China’s two civil wars, the Long March and the second Sino-Japanese war," writes AFP photographer Fred Dufour. "The children look like a little regiment of the revolutionary force. The military-style uniform is an exception in 21st-century China. And for a photographer, it’s a goldmine."

(AFP Photo / Fred Dufour)

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Pepper sprayed in Hong Kong

Tuesday 21 October 2014 - Behind the image

A local Hong Kong journalist collapses in agony after being hit in the face with pepper spray by police in the Mongkok district of Hong Kong on October 17, 2014 (AFP Photo / Alex Ogle)

A Hong Kong journalist collapses in agony after being hit in the face with pepper spray by police while he was covering a protest in the Mongkok district of Hong Kong on October 17, 2014. AFP photographer Alex Ogle tells how he shot this striking image.

(AFP Photo / Alex Ogle)

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In Hong Kong, echoes of Berlin

Thursday 2 October 2014 - Decoding

Des milliers de jeunes Berlinois de l'Est escaladent le mur près de la porte de Brandebourg, le 11 novembre 1989 (AFP / Gérard Malie)

"There are of course plenty of reasons to say Berlin in 1989 and Hong Kong in 2014 are not comparable, yet they share intriguing similarities", writes Richard Ingham, who covered for AFP the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the handback of Hong Kong to China in 1997. "Enclaves, by the quirk of history that made them, are usually special places with a specific identity, often owing more loyalty to themselves than to the country that lays claim to them."

(AFP Photo / Gérard Malie)

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China grapples with the 'devils' of its past

Wednesday 9 July 2014 - Eye witness

Chinese civilians take part in an event marking the start of the war with Japan. Beijing, July 7, 2014. (AFP Photo/Wang Zhao)

As China marks 77 years since the official start of the war with Japan, AFP Beijing correspondent Tom Hancock watches a Chinese dance troupe reenact past strife, highlighting China's sometimes-schizophrenic attitudes to its former adversary.

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Prepping for the apocalypse

Thursday 3 July 2014 - Eye witness

This photo taken on December 11, 2012 shows farmer Liu Qiyuan looking out from a survival pod that he built and also dubbed 'Noah's Arc', in the village of Qiantun, Hebei province, south of Beijing.

As the countdown to apocalypse elapses, one entrepreneur in China is busy building spherical survival pods suitable for just about any impending disaster. Named in honor of the Biblical Noah, his wooden 'arks' may or may not stay afloat in stormy seas, but they can withstand the shock of head on collision with a truck. Beijing-based AFP correspondent Tom Hancock was on hand for a test drive. (AFP Photo/Ed Jones)

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Hong Kong's flow: Fast forward, go slow, but never stop

Wednesday 6 November 2013 - Eye witness

(Photo: Joe Sinclair)

After two years in Hong Kong, AFP journalist Joe Sinclair pays tribute to the region's incredible energy.

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Hong Kong squared: Instagramming a region

Friday 9 August 2013 - Behind the image


Hong Kong is an explosion of sights, sounds, colours and smells. When AFP photo editor Alex Ogle moved there last year, he soon began photographing some of this sensory feast and posting his images on Instagram. Here he curates some of his favourite pictures.

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Seeking shelter from the sun in sizzling Shanghai

Thursday 1 August 2013 - Behind the image

Chilling out in a Shanghai department store on July 31, 2013. AFP Photo / Peter Parks

Seeking shelter from the sun in sizzling Shanghai

The heatwave that's gripped Shanghai for about a month has killed at least 10 people. It's hot enough to grill a pork chop on the sidewalk and residents are doing all they can to escape the heat. AFP photographer Peter Parks shot these images of Shanghai locals napping in various unusual places, including a department store.

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First the quake, now the floods

Friday 12 July 2013 - Behind the image

picture taken on July 9, 2013 showing heavy flood waters sweeping through Beichuan in southwest China's Sichuan province.
AFP Photo/Yang Weihua

First the quake, now the floods

Photographer Yang Weihua, on assignment for AFP, returned to the beleaguered region of Beichuan in Sichuan Province recently to cover the terrible floods that have devastated an area laid low five years ago by a terrible earthquake.  Here Yang describes how he scrambled to get to the vantage point that would give him the extraordinary image above. 

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Chaos in Shanghai as David Beckham appearance triggers stampede

Thursday 20 June 2013 - Behind the image

David Beckham fans get crushed in a stampede at Tonji University in Shanghai on June 20, 2013.

Chaos in Shanghai as Beckham event sparks stampede

AFP Shanghai photographer Peter Parks narrowly escaped being caught in a stampede as he photographed hundreds of fans who'd massed at a university to catch a glimpse of David Beckham.

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When pictures save lives

Tuesday 23 April 2013 - Eye witness

Fatima Khatun 25,  kisses the head of her eighteen month old daughter, Roona Begum, suffering from Hydrocephalus,  at their hut in Jirania village on the outskirts of Agartala, the capital of northeastern state of Tripura on April 13, 2013.

It happens all the time: a newspaper publishes a photo of a child living in hard-scrabble poverty who is stricken by a disfiguring, possibly life-threatening condition or injury. The image is heart-rending, and people around the world ask: “How can I help?” CORRESPONDENT editor Marlowe Hood looks at recent photos from the AFP archives that have made a difference. 

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A gay marriage in Beijing (not)

Wednesday 27 February 2013 - Behind the image

Elsie Liao (R) and Mayu Yu kiss in an alley outside the registry office where they asked to be married, before being turned away, in Beijing on February 25, 2013.
AFP Photo/Ed Jones

A gay marriage in Beijing (not)

When two young Chinese women -- lesbians but not a couple -- decided to apply for a marriage license in Beijing as an act of protest, AFP photographer Ed Jones was on hand to bear witness. There was no rice or wedding bells, and the marriage certificate was a fake, but the message came through loud and clear.  

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Gag me with a snake

Wednesday 13 February 2013 - Eye witness

A performer passes a snake through his nose and mouth during a show at a fair as part of lunar new year festivities at the Temple of Earth park in Beijing on February 11, 2013.

AFP's Beijing-based photographer Ed Jones, to mark the Chinese New Year of the snake, sought out a performer skilled in the art of swallowing live serpents. Caution: don't try this at home.  

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Forty Winks on a slow train in China

Thursday 7 February 2013 - Behind the image

This picture taken on January 28, 2013 shows people sleeping wherever they can on a train from Guangzhou to Changchun as they head to their hometowns for the Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival.
AFP Photo

Forty Winks on a slow train in China

Chinese New Year: Moon cakes, fire crackers, red envelops stuffed with cash, family dinners... and the most massive periodic migration in the history of our species. An AFP photographer found himself on a 36-hour train trip recently between the southern metropolis of Guangzhou and the northeastern city of Changchun. His pictures are a testament to the human capacity to sleep under nearly any circumstances.

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An Ocean of Shark Fins

Friday 4 January 2013 - Behind the image

Shark fins drying in the sun cover the roof of a factory building in Hong Kong on January 2, 2013.
AFP PHOTO/Antony Dickson

An Ocean of Shark Fins

High above the streets of Hong Kong, AFP photographer Antony Dickson found himself surrounded by thousands of shark fins. The world's shark population is paying the price for flourishing sales in China. “It was surreal. I had seen a lot of shark fins before on the shelves in Hong Kong markets, but nothing on such a massive scale," Dickson said. "I wonder how often these massive dryings happen. Once a year? Once a week?”

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The blind dissident who rocked Sino-US relations

Monday 28 May 2012 - Eye witness

Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng makes remarks to the media upon arriving on the campus of New York University on May 19, 2012 in New York City.

"It had all the elements for a Hollywood thriller -- and also for a diplomatic disaster," writes Washington-based AFP correspondent Shaun Tandon of the extraordinary saga of China's blind dissident Chen Guangcheng. Tandon accompanied US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on a long-planned trip to Beijing only days after Chen had escaped house arrest in the countryside and taken refuge in the US embassy, causing a diplomatic furor. Here's the story within the story. (Andy Jacobsohn/Getty Images/AFP)

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