Public parks are often at the center of social life for many Chinese, where all members of the community, young and old, join to unwind, gossip, socialize, entertain and be entertained. A refuge from the teeming high-rises that surround them, the parks and the sheer delight of park goers as they go about their various activities can be infectious. From all forms of singing and dancing, to shuttle-kicking, badminton and martial arts, parks are often the place where the average citizen can shed their inhibitions. People dress up and dress down; high heels and sports shoes walk side-by-side. Some picnic while others play cards, and children seem to explode with energy in the park's freedom. Most city parks are well maintained and visitors have a sense of pride in their space. There are noisy chaotic sections as well as secluded areas that offer a peaceful setting to sit on a bench and meditate on life. From young lovers and senior citizens to executives and shop assistants, parks are where all are equal - for a while - before people need to return to the stress and grind of big city life.
Francisco Little is a South African journalist and photographer. Living in Beijing for the past seven years, Little works with Chinese media as a magazine editor and consultant. Little was first attracted to photography during the 1994 independence period in South Africa, where he saw many opportunities for people in the media to capture the painful, yet amazingly peaceful change on film. Since moving to China, he has sought to capture candid images of ordinary life in China. His work is routinely published in Chinese media and recently National Geographic magazine. He uses a Nikon D300.