HUFFINGTON POST

'Eyes On China' Instagram Project Reveals What Life Is Like Behind China's Great Firewall

"If it was easy, the project wouldn't be so interesting."

Every year, travelers from across the globe flock to China to visit the country's renowned monuments and historical landmarks. But Kevin Frayer and Frederic Dufour, two Beijing-based photographers, have made it their mission to tell the world about another fascinating aspect of the country -- its diversity. 

Frayer and Dufour started an Instagram feed in June in an effort to show China from as many angles as possible. The Eyes On China Project features images shot by more than 20 foreign and Chinese photographers across the country. The subject of the photos range from a transexual woman in Guangzhou preparing to meet the press, to students in Shanghai undertaking military training and soccer fans in Beijing cheering on their team.

"We felt there was a need to give a broader view of an incredibly dynamic, diverse, and complicated country," Dufour told The WorldPost by email. "It's no surprise to discover that people in China love photography as much as anywhere else," Frayer added. 

The photographers note that running the Instagram project is no easy task, however, since China's massive web surveillance system -- also called the Great Firewall -- blocks websites like Facebook and Twitter. Just like many Instagram users in China, Frayer and Dufour use Virtual Private Network (VPN) softwares or proxies to manage their feed. "But I suppose if it was easy the project wouldn't be so interesting," Frayer added.

 Check out some of Frayer and Dufour's favorite images from the project below:

  • A migrant worker pole vaults over a puddle while installing cables near a half demolished "urban village" in Guangzhou,
    Sim Chi Yin/eyesonchinaproject/Instagram
    A migrant worker pole vaults over a puddle while installing cables near a half demolished "urban village" in Guangzhou, southern China. 
  • Children wear masks to protect themselves against air pollution in Beijing, China.
    Kevin Frayer/eyesonchinaproject/Instagram
    Children wear masks to protect themselves against air pollution in Beijing, China.
  • A couple eats dinner under a poster of Mao Zedong at home after a day working in the fields.
    Adam Dean/@eyesonchinaproject
    A couple eats dinner under a poster of Mao Zedong at home after a day working in the fields.
  • Two men fish in a pond in Xian Village in the city center of Guangzhou, China.
    Yuyang Liu/@eyesonchinaproject
    Two men fish in a pond in Xian Village in the city center of Guangzhou, China.
  • A child looks up at people participating in an austere religious ceremony, blessing the new praying quarter of the Chong
    Qi Tian/@eyesonchinaproject
    A child looks up at people participating in an austere religious ceremony, blessing the new praying quarter of the Chong Cang Lama monastery, in Tibet in 2013.
  • A couple embraces by the Yellow River in Lanzhou, Gansu, China.
    Wang Zhao/@eyesonchinaproject
    A couple embraces by the Yellow River in Lanzhou, Gansu, China.
  • A man walks with his turtle on a busy commercial street in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China.
    Hao Wu/@eyesonchinaproject
    A man walks with his turtle on a busy commercial street in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China.
  • A man brings an iPhone 5S and teddy bears to his girlfriend for her birthday in an urban village in Beijing in March 201
    Liu Bowen/@eyesonchinaproject
    A man brings an iPhone 5S and teddy bears to his girlfriend for her birthday in an urban village in Beijing in March 2014.
  • A potter works in the old city of Kashgar, Xinjiang.
    Theodore Kaye/@eyesonchinaproject
    A potter works in the old city of Kashgar, Xinjiang.
  • A woman gives another a private make-up session in a souvenir shop in the 798 art district in Beijing.
    Yan Cong/@eyesonchinaproject
    A woman gives another a private make-up session in a souvenir shop in the 798 art district in Beijing.
  • A man collects vegetables from a night market for his fruit and vegetable stand in Shanghai.
    Sharron Lovell/@eyesonchinaproject
    A man collects vegetables from a night market for his fruit and vegetable stand in Shanghai.
  • People cool down under sprinklers in a water park in Shanghai.
    Johannes Eisel/@eyesonchinaproject
    People cool down under sprinklers in a water park in Shanghai.
  • An elderly couple does a series of face massages while soaking their feet in hot water in the Guomao neighborhood of Beijing.
    Martina Albertazzi/@eyesonchinaproject
    An elderly couple does a series of face massages while soaking their feet in hot water in the Guomao neighborhood of Beijing.
  • Young Hui Muslim children prepare for morning prayers at the Qingzhen Nansi mosque in Changzhi, Shangxi Province.
    Giulia Marchi/@eyesonchinaproject
    Young Hui Muslim children prepare for morning prayers at the Qingzhen Nansi mosque in Changzhi, Shangxi Province.
  • A flight attendant takes a break at the Beijing airport on July 3, 2015.
    Fred Dufour/@eyesonchinaproject
    A flight attendant takes a break at the Beijing airport on July 3, 2015.

Also on HuffPost:

PHOTO GALLERY
China's Cultural History
CONVERSATIONS