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The waterway in snapshots

By Xing Yi | China Daily | Updated: 2022-08-25 08:20
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Two photos of Qingming Bridge in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, show the transformation of the canal. Liu took the photos in 1982 and 2016 respectively. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The Grand Canal is a flowing epic of transformation. The artificial waterway runs more than 2,000 kilometers from north to south across the vast eastern plains of China. Since its digging began in the 5th century BC, it has witnessed dynastic transitions, and has been an eloquent testimony to landscape changes, offering an economic lifeline to people living on its banks.

Given its incredible age and sheer length, no one has seen the Grand Canal all through. However, some avid lensmen have chronicled its existence, one frame at a time. Pieced together, these photographs-captured over several decades-are visual evidence of the canal's past for the future. As they say, pictures are a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.

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