This past week we took a few days off from class and ventured to Xi’an (西安), a 13 hour train ride west of Beijing. Most people recognize this city for its Terracotta Army (兵马俑), an array of stone soldiers and horses built for the first Qin emperor of China around 200 BC.
Skipping ahead though- because you know I’m never as interested in museums as one would expect– this vaca was insanely, crazy good for other reasons. Today I have room for story number one of two:
Hopefully you’ve heard a little about the recent feud between China and Japan which started on Sept. 8th when Japan detained a Chinese fishing-boat captain near a set of disputed islands in the East China Sea. Since then, the historic tension between the two countries has worsened, both heightening Chinese nationalism and making our time abroad infinitely more interesting. On Saturday we were lucky enough to stumble across one of many anti-Japanese protests erupting around the country. We had been leisurely wandering the streets to find a park and get in a round of mahjong when a wave of marching chaos descended upon us. Three hours later, there were more people crowding the main roads than vehicles, and the bus that had previously held the intention to drop us off at the train station by 7 pm was completely out of options. Instead, the whole lot of us– 60 ACC students with luggage draped across every limb of our bodies– maneuvered 2 miles on foot through infamous China traffic to catch our ride home.
Definitely check out the video below. But also notice that while protesting Japan was important to most of these young people, taking photos of foreigners was a close second… if not obvious first.