It’s the 61st Anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (National Day or 国庆节). Partayyy! That’s what it was in Tiananmen Square. Cotton candy, corn on the cob, massive floral displays, and… multi-colored plastic devil horn headbands. I have yet to discover their significance. But in essence, the mood on the square tonight resembled that of our Fourth of July. It was unfortunately (or fortunately) not the security-ridden atmosphere that I’d previously conjured up in my mind. Perhaps last year when China rounded its sixth decade the mood was a bit more conflicted, but I doubt it. All the controversial censorship, arrests, and injustices that plague the foreign press coverage on China feel like bitter annoyances when you stare into the crisp, glistening characters on two giant flat screens that illuminate messages of technological success, economic progress and a harmonious society. There is no looming sense of dissatisfaction here but one of overwhelming pride. After all, tonight’s square wasn’t empty but bustling with a smiling crowd snapping photos of their kids posing with Chinese flags and peace signs. And in the end, what’s not to be proud of? All the bad aside, because every country has its dark side, China’s unprecedented growth in the last twenty years is not to be taken lightly. Recognizing the pressures experienced in the past from both within its borders and abroad we might make rational sense not only of China’s rapid economic development but also of its political system. Of course there are many problems left to tackle here, but every citizen deserves a day to honor and rejoice in the successes of the country they live in.
China is full of puppies. There are a few explanations for this (you’ll know at least one when you visit a restaurant), but for being so concerned about the size of their population, I’m surprised they don’t follow Bob Barker’s advice to “have your pet spayed or neutered”. I ran across this adorable little bath session today though. Looks like it occurred on a small side street or in a local village right? Nope. Smack dab in the middle of one of Nanjing’s biggest shopping streets we’ve visited.
To my surprise, there is a definite carefree, do-what-you-want-in-public attitude here. Older men walk around with their shirts up, backs arched, and bare beer bellies sticking out like they own the place. I watched a girl today run her bike into another guy’s back tire when he wasn’t going fast enough, then proceed to pass him hurriedly when he turned around to see what hit him. Apparently it’s time to leave the old submissive, obedient culture behind and let loose.