"China's rise is the story of the century," writes Matt Schiavenza, editor of The Atlantic's newly launched China Channel -- a new avenue for our expanding coverage of the world's largest nation in the 21st century. In that spirit, today, I'd like to introduce photographer Tom Carter. Nine years ago, Carter traveled from San Francisco to China, responding to a job posting that turned out to be a scam. He managed to find another job as a teacher, and saved enough money to embark on a 56,000 km trip through all of China's 33 provinces that lasted two years. Carrying a camera -- just a a 4-megapixel point-and-shoot -- Carter captured some amazing images of the widely varying landscape, people, and architecture across the nation. He then collected 900 of these photos into a book titled CHINA: Portrait of a People. Carter writes that his photos help to show that "China is not just one place, one people, but 33 distinct regions populated by 56 different ethnicities, each with their own languages, customs and lifestyles." Carter was kind enough to share some of his portraits here, on the day that The Atlantic launches its new China Channel.