Spectacularly Vast and Diverse: China by Time-Lapse

A video blending together 49 different cities shows the beauty in a country so often characterized in negative terms.

So much coverage of China focuses on, for lack of a better word, ugliness: think Beijing’s air pollution, food safety scandals, official corruption, and even unfortunate “modern” architecture. 

These stories are all important (well, maybe the architecture isn’t, so much), but they present an incomplete picture of the country. That’s because, whether your preference is for cities, jungle, mountains, or beach, China is a dazzling, beautiful country with enough physical diversity to please even the most critical visitor.

In order to give viewers a glimpse of China’s diversity, the folks at Timelapse China asked 56 photographers located in 49 different cities, working separately, to create time-lapse videos of their location, which were then blended together in one, seamless video. The result is a stunning display of Shanghai’s dynamism, Diqing’s austere beauty, and many other uniquely Chinese sights.

If you’re someone who is on the fence about visiting China because of the problems mentioned above, go. Seriously. It’s an incredible place. 

Matt Schiavenza is a contributing writer for The Atlantic. He is a former global-affairs writer for the International Business Times and Atlantic senior associate editor.

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