This is a book review of Jan Wong’s Red China Blues, but I’ve added my own photos and some insights of when we attended the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
From the book: “Tiananmen is gargantuan, the biggest square in the world. Moscow’s Red Square was intimate in comparison. Tiananen could simultaneously accommodate the entire 28 teams of the National Football League plus 192 other teams, each playing separate games. It could stage an entire Summer Olympics, with all events taking place at the same time. Tiananmen, which means Gate of Heavenly Peace is also one of the least hospitable squares in the world. There is no bench or place to rest, nowhere to get a drink, no leafy tree to offer respite from the sun. Only the one-hundred-foot high Monument to the People’s Heroes punctuates it, and after 1977, Mao’s white and gold mausoleum. Its huge lampposts are equipped with giant speakers for crowd control and swiveling video cameras’. The commercial photographers with white pushcarts and colorful shade umbrellas are actually plainclothes police. For a modest fee, they snap photos of Chinese tourists posing in the square and mail you the pictures a week later. That way, they have your name and address, too.” Continue reading