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Sleeping Chinese: a sleeper hit?

Mild-mannered photographer Bernd Hagemann tiptoes around Shanghai with his camera. He has to keep quiet to avoid waking his snoring subjects. But despite his low profile, his photo website Sleeping Chinese has been getting a lot of attention from media as far afield as Apple Daily and La Repubblica.

Britain’s Daily Telegraph reports: “Bernd Hagemann moved to the Far East in 2002, and since then he regularly takes to the streets of Shanghai to find extreme nappers to add to his extensive photograph collection. He divides the groups into three categories — hardsleepers, softsleepers and groupsleepers. Hardsleepers are able to fall asleep anywhere on any surface, softsleepers need something a little more comfortable, and groupsleepers sleep with people around them, be it friends, family or complete strangers.

“China’s passion for the siesta is captured at Sleeping Chinese, where Shanghai photographer Bernd Hagemann has put up over 700 photographs of Chinese sleeping in seemingly impossible positions: under trucks, on shopping carts, scooters and butcher slabs, vividly illustrating the millions of weary masses who helped power the nation’s economic rise,” says the Wall Street Journal. “On his site — which has attracted almost half a million visitors — Mr. Hagemann wrote that he started the site to show the outside world the less threatening side of China’s rise.”

Bernd’s photo book Sleeping Chinese is published later this summer. It may be just the thing for a bedtime read…

2016-11-24T01:14:45+00:00June 23rd, 2009|authors, china, new books|4 Comments


  1. hbq December 7, 2009 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    I am a chinese,i am really think the chinese are too tired.to be frank,they need more time to enjoy the life they should have led.

  2. Frankie Fook-lun Leung July 24, 2012 at 7:03 am - Reply

    I avoid arranging meetings with chinese corporation executives after lunch. I once visited a major Chinese state-owned bank in shanghai at lunch time. I was told to be quiet because all their staff were taking their siesta. Amazing. It was only two years ago and in Shanghai.

  3. Pete August 2, 2012 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    Yes, I think that’s still normal there!

  4. Frankie Fook-lun Leung August 7, 2012 at 12:53 am - Reply

    what is normal in Mainland China is not so normal elsewhere. They called it “with chinese characteristics” to distinguish itself, for better or for worse.

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