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.
Yo, glad you’re interested in checking out the site! I’m a recent college grad who moved to China for a year only to learn that a desk job anywhere is still a desk job. Luckily, this site will take us outside the office to explore the country that’s been on the tip of everyone’s tongues lately. My previous goal in writing was to merely “document subtle aspects of Chinese life via photographs, videos, anecdotes, and local conversation”, but after visiting the mainland four times and learning that it’s extremely different from its portrayal in US media, my new goal is to write about everything The New York Times and Wall Street Journal don’t— i.e., what life’s really like in China.
I invite you to sit back, muster up an appetite for adventure, and comment as much as your curious little heart desires 😉