Local residents protest against a U.S. military base in Kadena on Japan's Okinawa island, Nov. 5, 2009. Most U.S. bases in Japan are on the southern island and have been the source of tensions for decades. Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Sea cucumber with swan goose meat. Xiao Kaijing for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Xiao Kaijing for NPR

The skyline of Pudong, the financial district of Shanghai. This year China is expected to replace Japan as the world's second-largest economy, and Germany as the world's biggest exporter. Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Julie Harms is questioned by a plainclothes policeman outside the Zhongnanhai compound after she attempts to deliver a letter to China's top leaders, who resides inside Zhongnanhai in Beijing. The American woman is seeking justice from the central government for her fiance, who she says was unjustly charged with a crime. Ng Han Guan/AP hide caption

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A woman whose son has HIV cries during an AIDS awareness event Tuesday, World AIDS Day, held at Beijing's south railway station. A new report by UNAIDS says 42 percent of AIDS sufferers in China have experienced discrimination because of their condition. Andy Wong/AP hide caption

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Professional mimic Cheng Jiaqiang, shown here in his Beijing apartment, learned his skills from his grandfather. The calligraphy on the wall behind Cheng refers to his signature act: Cheng imitates a bird imitating a musician imitating a bird. Anthony Kuhn/NPR hide caption

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Looking upstream on the Three Gorges Reservoir in China. Anthony Kuhn/NPR hide caption

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