The Chinese government blocks a lot of online social networks. So I wasn’t ignoring your comments – it’s Communism. This Facebook-blocking government celebrated its 90th anniversary on July 1st, and commemorative crimson fever was high. Thousands of workers across China prepared for the celebrations by scraping gum off of Forbidden City walkways.
I was approached by many excited Chinese who wanted to know if I was in town for the celebration. (No. My flight to Inner Mongolia coincided with the big day). Mainstream Chinese people are seemingly pro-Communism, pro-Mao, and pro-anything else China related. I don’t want to get into too much social commentary, but I’ll just mention that Animal Farm is one of my very favorite books.
My first introduction to red anniversary pride was China Daily, the English newspaper, and its full page timeline of the CPC. I especially enjoy the happy smiling faces of the peasants completing their long march. There is no mention of how the government pulled peasants from their farms to work in factories, creating shoddy steel goods and a famine that starved millions.
This glorification of peasants was again apparent on Tiananmen Square which is bookended by Chairman Mao on one end and two patriotic slide shows (patri-vision?) on the other. Glamour shots of terraced rice field and harmonious field hands fill the mega screen as music meant to inspire nostalgia fills the surrounding space. Chinese tourists stood by and filmed the entire spectacle on their cell phones.
Along with the glorification of Communism, there is the inevitable trashing of the Japanese. I’ve been to Nanjing, seen evidence of the massacre, but WOW – this country really knows how to hold a grudge. On out hike up the Great Wall the only time our sweet tour guide stopped the whole group was to point to a blown-out wall, say it was from a Japanese bomb, and suggest that we take pictures of it. As for World War II, here in China it’s known as the War of Aggression by the Japanese. Again from China Daily:
I’m happy to be in China, I really am – especially on this return trip. I don’t know if it’s my perception or the result of the Beijing Olympics/Shanghai Expo/general globalization, but the country seems much less chaotic to me. But I agree with Colin Firth’s comment when he was asked about the British monarchy: “I really like voting. It’s one of my favorite things.”