Set astride the Pearl River, Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, has a long history of exposure to the West. There has been a settlement on this site since the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BC). By the time of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) it had developed into a flourishing market community. Foreign trade, first with the Middle East and Central Asia, focused the attention of the Western European nations on this area of China. Known to prior century europeans as Canton, Guangzhou today is home to Special Economic Zones, international trade, industry and sweatshops. Guangzhou has long experienced a prosperity greater than most Chinese cities. 
The modern Guangzhou skyline along the Pearl River
The bank of the Pearl River lit up at night
While parts of Guangzhou are modern and clean, obviously this alleyway residence is not. That is raw sewage running in the small channel on the lower left, not a photo you will find in a travel brochure
Living conditions can be cramped but clean, as evidenced by this narrow residential street
Other parts of Guangzhou are open and decorous, this is what the Chinese Government and tour operators want you to see
Fishing along the bank of the Pearl River
Fishing of a different type, one of several government boats that ply the Pearl River in Guangzhou, fishing floating debris out of the river. While it looks good on the surface, it is too bad the same effort isn't put into sewage treatment.
The Pearl River, flowing through Guangzhou is a major commercial artery
Chinese Junk on Pearl River, Guangzhou