Japan's economy has been struggling for two decades and faces some of the same problems the U.S. has. Here, a man in Tokyo passes an electronic board displaying falling global markets. Yuriko Nakao/Reuters/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Yuriko Nakao/Reuters/Landov

Shinzo Abe of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party marks the name of a parliamentary election winner at party headquarters in Tokyo on Sunday. Japan's conservative LDP stormed back to power Sunday after three years in opposition. Junji Kurokawa/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Junji Kurokawa/AP

Supporters hold up posters of Japan's former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a rally in Osaka on Thursday. Considered a nationalist hawk, Abe is expected to become prime minister for a second time after parliamentary elections Sunday. Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images

An NPR reporter recently was allowed to watch legal proceedings at Hongkou District Court — a rare opportunity for a foreign correspondent in Shanghai. Courtesy of Hongkou District Court hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Hongkou District Court

Before it disappeared from the Web: Here's how People's Daily Online packaged its coverage of the "news" that Kim Jong Un is 2012's sexiest man. People's Daily Online (frame grab of a page that has now been removed) hide caption

itoggle caption People's Daily Online (frame grab of a page that has now been removed)

Authorities in Hunan province sentenced Tang Hui to 18 months in a re-education-through-labor camp after she repeatedly complained about the way police investigated the case of her daughter's kidnapping and forced prostitution. An uproar on Weibo, China's answer to Twitter, pushed authorities to free Tang days later. Frank Langfitt/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Frank Langfitt/NPR

Wang Heying, 64, supports the new Communist leaders, even if she can barely name them. She says government policies have led street lamps, bigger houses and a TV in every home. Frank Langfitt/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Frank Langfitt/NPR

A 1967 poster declares, "Beloved Chairman Mao, we are loyal to you forever." Courtesy of the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Center hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Center

The Picture Show

The Art Of Chinese Propaganda

A treasure-trove of Mao-era propaganda posters is housed in an unmarked basement museum in Shanghai.

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Chen Guangcheng, a blind Chinese lawyer, made international headlines when he escaped house arrest in April. Now at New York University, he believes changes to China's legal system are inevitable. Frank Langfitt/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Frank Langfitt/NPR

China is currently involved in several disputes with its neighbors over small islands, many of them uninhabited. Here, Chinese fishing boats sail off the island province of Hainan in the South China Sea in July. AP hide caption

itoggle caption AP

A man walks through a former unofficial, or "black," jail in Beijing, in 2009. It's estimated that thousands of Chinese lodging protests against the government are illegally detained in secret sites such as this one, even though the government says they don't exist. Elizabeth Dalziel/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Elizabeth Dalziel/AP

China's rapid expansion has been fueled in part by massive construction projects, like this one in Beijing, shown last year. But many economists say the Chinese economic model is unlikely to produce the same explosive growth in the coming years and needs to be revamped. Lintao Zhang/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Blogger and race car driver Han Han doesn't shy away from skewering Chinese government and society. Robert Cianflone/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Robert Cianflone/Getty Images