Signing off from beautiful and challenging China, with a little something from Taishan in Shandong province from last autumn. It was an honor to take over the @theiwmf #instagram account this week and I hope you enjoyed seeing my pictures and videos from this part of the globe. This is Hélène Franchineau ( @helene_fr ), video and multimedia journalist for AP in China (for now) and soon relocating to the Middle East. I wish all the best to my fellow women journalists: look up, stay focused, keep pushing, and never take no for an answer! #iwmf #china #journalism #byebye
Covering China also means covering its more than 56 minorities that live all over the country. Here in Gansu province in Western China, I got the chance to spend the Tibetan New Year with a local Tibetan family. I later came back to watch an annual horse racing festival. In China, Tibet doesn't stop at the frontiers of the Tibetan province. Historical Tibet spreads to parts of western Sichuan, but also Qinghai, Gansu, and northern Yunnan province. You find people who sometimes speak a poor Mandarin (the common language in China) but are proud of their religion (Buddhism), language and culture, all of which are unfortunately endangered by Beijing's general lack of interest and tolerance toward what's not Han Chinese, what's different and could potentially pose a threat to the Communist Party. The first 3 pictures were taken in February 2016 near Xiahe, during Tibetan New Year (Losar), spent with a local family. The last pictures were taken in August 2016 when I came back to the same area to watch the Maqu horse racing festival, an annual 3-day competition (1,000m; 5,000m and 10,000m) that draws riders from nearby provinces and even from Xinjiang. This is Hélène Franchineau ( @helene_fr ), video and multimedia journalist for AP based in China. I'm posting for @theiwmf this week some pictures of my work on assignment in China and other countries. #iwmf #china #tibet #gansu #newyear #minorities #tibetan #buddhism
A foot carrier slowly walks his load up the magnificent Huangshan mountain in southern Anhui province, November 2016. The mountain range, famed for its winter snows and its view above the clouds, was supposedly the inspiration for the mountains in "Avatar." Peaks can go up to 1,800m and it is common to see, on the way up, multiple foot carrier with a load of food and other necessities on their batons, walking up and often stopping to take a rest. This is Hélène Franchineau ( @helene_fr ), video journalist for AP based in Beijing, posting for @theiwmf this week pictures of my work on assignment in China and beyond. #china #anhui #huangshan
A woman finds solace on the steps of La Bourse, in Brussels, as people around her are demonstrating against extremism, a few days after two explosions rocked the Belgian capital (one in the subway, one in the airport) on March 22, 2016. This is Hélène Franchineau ( @helene_fr ), video journalist for AP in China, posting this week on the @theiwmf account pictures taken on and off assignment, in China and beyond. #belgium #brussels #onassignment #AP #iwmf
Reaching for the finish line: a man is taking part in the annual Harbin Ice Swimming competition, January 2017. Harbin is a city located in China's northern Heilongjiang province. The temperature that morning was -23 degrees. This is Hélène Franchineau ( @helene_fr ), video journalist for AP in Beijing, posting for @theiwmf this week. #china #harbin #iwmf #iceswimmimg #fitness
A group of Beijingers, some wearing face masks, play a game of ice hockey on the frozen Liangma river on January 1, 2017. The air quality index that day was 500 (=hazardous levels). Air pollution is one of Beijing's (and many other Chinese cities) most serious problems. Smog levels were off the charts for most of last November and December, when the authorities issued their first red alert: schools closed, traffic sharply reduced, people told to stay at home. It smells acrid, it looks grey, it dries your eyes and gives you a headache. No matter where you go or how well you protect yourself against the smog, there is sometimes nowhere to hide, and many Chinese people don't take the threat seriously enough and protect themselves. In a few years, the public health consequences will be dire. -- This is Hélène Franchineau ( @helene_fr ), video and multimedia journalist for AP based in China, posting for @theiwmf this week. #everydaychina #everydaybeijing #beijing #china #airpollution #smog #airpocalypse #iwmf
This is what happens when you try to interview one of the only independent candidates running for Beijing's local elections (November 2016). Am army of police, plain clothes and village thugs trying to prevent you from filming or even getting near Liu Huizhen, a brave migrant worker living in the south of Beijing. She hasn't done anything wrong, as the local election system allows for independent candidates to run- in theory. In practice, everything is done to discourage potential independent candidates from running. Liu was threatened, kept at home and barred from running a proper campaign. The reality of covering China. This is Hélène Franchineau ( @helene_fr ), video journalist for AP based in China, posting for the IWMF this week. #china #beijing #journalism #iwmf
October 2015: still on the theme of surveillance in China. Bai Budan (白卜旦) is a Beijing cartoonist who uses water color to paint scenes of local Beijing life, usually with a sharp critical eye. A children folk song praises Tiananmen Square, and on a recent visit to Tiananmen, after passing through the unpleasant security check and witnessing the number of surveillance cameras, Bai decided to paint a cartoon that refers to that song. The cartoon shows two little children pointing at the cameras and saying, ironically, "我爱北京天安门的摄像头!" ("I love the surveillance cameras on Tiananmen Square!" - playing with the original lyrics of the song). Here is a timelapse of Bai Budan and his creation process, from the idea on Tiananmen Square to the actual drawing. This is Hélène Franchineau ( @helene_fr ), video and multimedia journalist based in Beijing for AP. I'm taking over the #Instagram account of the IWMF this week to post pictures of my work. #beijing #china #iwmf #censorship #cartoon #tiananmen
February 2017: early morning dance routine on one of the only snow days this winter in Beijing. Old Chinese people love to exercise in parks to stay healthy, so it is really common to see them walk, stretch, do taijiquan moves, and even sing... This is Hélène Franchineau ( @helene_fr ) multimedia journalist for AP based in China, posting for the IWMF this week about some of my stories. #iwmf #china #beijing #everydaychina #beihai
A group of Chinese tourists rests in the shade under a lamp post fitted with video surveillance cameras on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, in September 2015. Ever since my first time in China, in 1999, until maybe 10 years ago, I remember the historically important and touristy square as a happy place: people would walk, rest, fly kites. But for the past 5 years or so, I found that the mood has changed. Tiananmen Square has never been designed for the people anyway (no trees, no bench to sit on), but now the atmosphere is hostile: soldiers are fitted with fire extinguishers in case someone tries to do something crazy, plain clothes police roam the square, there's a security check at all corners. These changes have happened in the past 5 years, ever since Xi Jinping came to power and the Communist Party's distrust of its own people has grown. I no longer enjoy visiting Tiananmen, and taking friends and visitors to this place has become a chore, not to mention filming on the square, which has become almost impossible for a journalist. This is Hélène Franchineau ( @helene_fr ), video and multimedia journalist for AP based in China. I'm posting for IWMF this week about my work, mainly in China. I hope you enjoy. #iwmf #china #beijing #tiananmen #tiananmensquare #journalism
Street life in Shiraz, southern Iran. This is Hélène Franchineau ( @helene_fr ), multimedia and video journalist for AP based in China, posting for the IWMF this week. #iran #shiraz #travel #iwmf
A couple taking what must have been a 10-minute long selfie, on Isfahan's famed Chubi bridge, at dusk. They were so slow I got the time to set up my camera. During my time in Iran, I looked for public displays of affection, but the situation would vary according to the city and the category of population. Anything goes in Tehran, but in more conservative places, that might not be the case. Kissing is of course off-limit, unless you want to end up at the police station. This is Hélène Franchineau ( @helene_fr ), multimedia journalist for AP based in China, posting for the IWMF this week :) #iran #isfahan #chubi #travel #love #dating
What do young Iranian people do when they cannot really meet and interact with the opposite sex freely in public places? They go cruising, i.e. drive along certain avenues at nights in Tehran and check out the boys and girls in the car next to them. Then starts an interesting game of cat and mouse, one car following the other in the busy traffic. Sometimes they stop; a few words, a phone number is exchanged, and the two prospective lovers can meet later on at a private party- or not. This is Hélène Franchineau ( @helene_fr ) multimedia journalist for AP in China, posting for IWMF this week. #iran #tehran #dating #love #iwmf #cruising #nationalsport #modernlove #tinderonwheels
Dancing and singing are important elements of Iranian culture. Here on the 13th day of Iranian new year (Nowruz), people, like this family in Gilan province near the Caspian Sea, celebrate Sizdah Bedar (سیزده‌بدر) or Nature's Day. They usually leave their house to go and spend the day outdoors, picnic, have fun. Unfortunately this year, the rain kept us inside. This is Hélène Franchineau ( @helene_fr ), video journalist for AP in China, posting for the IWMF this week. #iran #nowruz #travel #iwmf
Hello! Hélène Franchineau ( @helene_fr ) here, I'm a multimedia journalist for the AP based in China, and I'll be taking over the IWMF Instagram account this week. I just got back from Iran where I took part in the first ever Tehran marathon. The full marathon got banned for women at the last minute and replaced by an official 10k, but a group of female runners and I decided to do our own marathon anyway so we ran 32k in the morning then joined the other women for the last 10k, the official one. The start was at Azadi stadium, an ironic choice because usually women are banned from entering the stadium to watch, for example, football games. (On this topic, please watch Jafar Panahi's "Offside"). Here, women are waiting for the race start and listening to officials explaining the route. Some female members of the religious police walked amongst the participants to make sure our outfit (large pants, long sleeve T-shirt and white hijab covering even the neck) was "Islamic appropriate." The race was a first for Tehran and hopes are high women will have their own marathon next year. In any case it was a unique experience to run along with other Iranian women and learn from one another. #iwmf #iran #latergram #travel #women #equality #marathon #running #tehran #tehrun #azadi
People who have just crossed the Suchiate River from Guatemala into Mexico, seen from below the bridge that holds the official crossing. This has been @aliceproujansky sharing my photo essay on migrant families in southern Mexico, done as an Adelante Reporting Fellow last December. Thanks for following along this week.
A woman adjusts decorations in the storefront inside her home where she sells food to migrants near the tracks for "La Bestia," the freight train many migrants used to ride north. This is @aliceproujansky sharing my photo essay on migrant families in southern Mexico, done as an Adelante Reporting Fellow last December.
A 13-year-old Honduran boy reclines in a sink for washing clothes at a shelter. This is @aliceproujansky sharing my photo essay on migrant families in southern Mexico, done as an Adelante Reporting Fellow last December.