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Next Monday China celebrates National Day as the country prepares for a political transition, one that will see the new leaders taking the helm of perhaps the world's most dynamic society. It seems an opportune time to look at life in 中国, the Middle Kingdom. Change and progress have come at a dizzying pace in the last couple of decades, making the People's Republic of China politically, culturally, economically, and militarily a power player on the world stage. Many issues challenge the incoming government. A territorial dispute with Japan over some islands off Taiwan is opening old wounds from WWII. A corruption and murder scandal involving a high ranking official comes at an embarrassing time. And the country's juggernaut economy finds itself in the 11th straight month of stagnation. But at the same time, an increasingly colorful society celebrates the continued vibrant awakening transforming the largest population in the world. Gathered here are images providing a glimpse of life from many parts of the country, including Hong Kong - which has now been under mainland control for 15 years. -- Lane Turner (44 photos total)

An actor performs a re-enactment of the Red Army battles and the beginning of the Long March in Jinggangshan, China on September 20, 2012. In 1927, communist leaders fled with a few thousand supporters to the hills of Jinggangshan, hounded and outnumbered by Nationalist forces. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)


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