My brothers and I visited Beijing a few months ago.
The capital city, draped in fall foliage, was magnificent, graceful and brimming with pride. Beneath the veneer of quiet confidence, however, were signs of a city frantically preparing itself for an extravaganza.
Every 1 October, the Communist Party goes all out to put on a show to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic. Central to the festivities is a massive military parade, followed by an evening of lavish fireworks and staged performances.
As our taxi sailed past Tiananmen Square, face-lifted for the occasion with giant LCD screens and slogan banners, we spotted convoys of military vehicles docked by the roadside after a day of grueling rehearsals. In a few days, rocket launchers and tanks would rumble down Chang An Avenue (長安街), a scene that most of us associate only with North Korea, Iran and the former Soviet Union...
Read the rest of this essay in No City for Slow Men, available at major bookstores in Hong Kong and at Blacksmith Books.
|No City for Slow Men|