Veteran German journalist stages photo show on China's changes

Source:Global Times Published: 2009-11-26 8:43:01

A veteran German journalist has staged a photo show in Beijing on China's changes in 30 years.

Martin Kummer, 70, took the photos of China in 1976 and 2006 respectively, from almost the same angles of the same places in five major Chinese cities and tourist spots.

The exhibition started from Wednesday and is free to visitors. It showcases a selection of 120 paired pictures.

The photos taken at Beijing's Tian'anmen Square, for example, featured stiff-looking pedestrians and bicycle riders wearing gray suits in 1976, but cars and colorful clothes in 2006.

Similarly, Pudong of China's financial hub Shanghai, once a farming area, is now home to congested skyscrapers.

"My pictures are witnesses to the tremendous changes that have taken place in China over the past decades," said Kummer, a retiree from the Hamburg Morning Post.

He staged a similar exhibition in Hamburg on Aug. 8, 2008, when the Beijing Olympic Games began.

Major German newspapers, including Die Welt and Hamburger Abendblatt, credited his photos as a precious record of China's development.

In April 1976, shortly before the death of Chairman Mao Zedong, Kummer made his first visit to China.

"At that time, many people were wearing gray suits and dark-blue hats," he said. "Three decades later, the hats could only be found at souvenir stores."

In 2006, on a second visit, Kummer decided to follow the places he toured 30 years ago, including the southern cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Guilin.

"I was amazed by the changes," he said. "The bamboo raft, once a livelihood tool for the fishermen in Guilin, became a symbolic tourist experience."

"Now, I'm very interested in how far the country will actually go under the beneficial reform and opening up policy," he said. "The government is seeking more exchanges with foreign countries and working for the better welfare of its people."

Although in his retirement, Kummer is keen on what happens in China.

"On Oct. 1, my wife and I went to the Tian'anmen Square at 6 o'clock in the morning and stayed until late at night," he said, referring to the grand celebrations of the 60th founding anniversary of the People's Republic of China. "We shot a lot of pictures and reported what we saw."

The couple also interviewed ordinary Chinese before the National Day celebrations on Oct. 1.

"I might go to the Shanghai Expo next year at which Germany has an impressive pavilion," he said.

Posted in: Diplomacy

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