These 20 Rare Images Reveal What China Looked Like In The 1980’s

These raw images capture what life was like for Chinese citizens in the 1980's.

Credit: Alex Ng

When a foreigner thinks of China nowadays, most often they ponder the crisis of the air pollution, some of the country’s astonishing wonders (such as The Great Wall of China), and seemingly strict policies, such as only allowing each family to have two children. Photographer Alex Ng, however, wants to remind the world that China also retains a certain innocence, one that’s hard too see nowadays due to the ‘busy-ness’ of the world.

When the photographer was a college student in the 1980’s, he was majoring in journalism and found a passion for capturing images. This realized he decided to travel the country and capture photographs of anything and everything he stumbled across. In a post on Bored Panda, he wrote:

“At that time, I had only started photography for three or four years. Notwithstanding that I had limited knowledge about Chinese customs and culture, with my fervent passion, I many a time travelled to Mainland by rail. My adventure lasted occasionally for a few years, till my graduation.

Prior to being digitalised a decade ago, the slides were only stored in storage boxes and not even published. The reappearance of the images inspired my to host a photo exhibition, be it a summary of my young photography life, or as a sharing to young photographers: The photographs you take in your early life, could be the most invaluable ones. Keep up!”

Following are 20 images he recently found in storage and wanted to share with the world. This is what China looked like three decades ago:

#1 Bell Tower, Xi’an, 1984

Credit: Alex Ng

#2 Jinan Station Waiting Room, Jinan, 1984

Credit: Alex Ng

#3 “Three Ponds Mirroring The Moon”, West Lake, Hangzhou, 1984

Credit: Alex Ng

#4 Marble Boat At Summer Palace, Beijing, 1985

Credit: Alex Ng

#5 Trolleybus In Front Of The National Art Museum, Beijing, 1987

Credit: Alex Ng

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