Thursday, June 29, 2006

Speaking of 1989 

Today is the last of our Long March through China, the agenda including Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. Pictures to follow in a few hours.

We were reminded today that China is an uncompromising police state. Our guide, who is a local, asked us not to ask him about the protests of 1989 while we toured the square. Apparently as recently as last year, a Chinese guide candidly answered a question from a Western tourist about the protests of 1989. A police officer heard the guide and arrested him on the spot. He is believed to be in prison today.

The local guides are no longer required to "report" on the activities of Western tourists - that delightful custom ended in 1990. They are, however, extremely guarded in their explanations, particularly in public where they might be heard. Why does Chinese cable television carry only Chinese channels, even though the international channels are available in the hotels? "Politics."



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