The hutongs or alleyways between courtyard houses in downtown Beijing are facing a threat from the city's constant construction. The word hutong is said to hark back to the gap between rows of tents of nomad warriors when Beijing was a Mongol capital in the 13th century.
Beijing – Photo Tip

When you stick out, get stuck in to get the photo

Photo by Adrian Bradshaw

Beijing – Photo Tip When you stick out, get stuck in to get the photo

I have lived in China for almost 27 years in all, mostly based in Beijing. As a photographer, this has been a precious opportunity to witness history and cover some of the big events as well as everyday life, capturing scenes fascinate many people all over the world.

Adrian Bradshaw
Adrian Bradshaw

Getting on my bicycle with a small camera and a willingness to engage with the sometimes gruff, sometimes hilarious but (almost) always friendly and accommodating people of this huge city has brought me many great encounters in Beijing. Big cameras and a standoff or furtive approach do not work here where any foreigner, particularly anyone resembling a journalist, will stick out a mile and be treated with caution.

Of course, nowadays the heavy pollution and preposterous traffic gridlock in Beijing makes cycling less of a joy but on a good day it is still very good indeed. With a population creeping towards 24 million and a new plan to create a megacity of 130 million – engulfing much of neighbouring Hebei province and a few other big urban centers – this is a place of grand ambition.

The thrust and energy of China's capital is awe inspiring, but when it gets too much there is always the Great Wall and the mountain zones to the north to escape to.

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