In Pictures: The Bright Shell of Shenyang

By Luo Jian
Published: 2008-10-24

A workshop of the Shenyang-based Yuanda Group, one of China's biggest construction companies.

Having been away from Shenyang for more than a decade, what I hear most about my hometown is its change - another batch of factories have been removed from Tiexi district. New buildings. Wu'ai Market got another expansion. A new Carrefour opened somewhere. A luxury brand made a high-profile début...

All of these refresh my memories of this northeast city, the cradle of heavy industry in China. But some things never change. The statue of Mao Zedong in Center Square keeps the same posture year after year. At its foot, people do morning exercise and take evening walks. What changes around them is the color of buildings, and the time neon lights go off and on. As it stares, the city moves on slowly to an unknown future.

Like a cell phone, the city changes its shell when it's worn. But the guts don't change – cars and motorcycles lie scattered in disorder, shouts shoot through the busy streets, brawls lit by unkind words erupt among indifferent on-lookers...

Center Square, Shenyang.

The clothing section of Wu'ai Market

A museum rebuilt from a part of Workers’ Village, a former residential district for local workers first built in the 1950s.

Workers' Village being torn down.

Xita Street, the Korean district in Shenyang, and the city's entertainment center since late 1980s.

A jinrikisha and a motor tricycle waiting for customers at the end of a busy street.

This is part of a continuing series by EO photojournalist Luo Jian, who has been reporting on communities impacted by China's development and urbanization.