November 17, 2006

Tiananmen Square

This was yet another one of those cultural experiences that I think everyone should experience at some point in their life. The Tiananmen Square had such a different feel to it than any other place that I have ever visited. Just looking around at the hoards of Chinese citizens paying their homage to their country on what would be equivalent to their Thanksgiving gave me a sense of the power that this massive country holds. Not only over their peoples actions but also over their every thought and spoken word. If there is anywhere in Asia that feels foreboding it is here. Standing in the middle looking at the literally hundreds of communist flags and the many tributes to Mao was a new and ethno-centrically unbalancing experience. Here I was surrounded by ideals so different from the ones that I had always embodied as a Canadian and I could not help but be reminded of the hundreds of people who had risked and lost their lives to try to pronounce just a shred of what I stand for. While at the square, or better yet, while in China it is greatly frowned upon to speak of the two massacres that had happened here.

Above is a picture of the main government building which essentially controls the dealings and forward movements of the Chinese Government. It was in front of this building in 1989 that thousands of peaceful protesters questioned the governments actions regarding the Chinese economic reform. It was also in front of this building that close to 4,000 students, intellectuals, soldiers, and Red Cross workers died as well as where 30,000 more were injured. This event in history is widely rejected by the current Chinese Government and banned from the memories of the citizens. The Tiananmen Square massacre is something that we all learn of in the pursuit to further democracy but actually being there and understanding the power of this government to overthrow actions and thoughts that they do not support was mind boggling.

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