Monday, August 14, 2006

2nd August, 2006. Protests in Tiananmen Square.

Tiananmen Square is still the site where Chinese people go to protest, although they are quelled much more successfully these days.

Recently on a tour of Beijing’s famous sites, I witnessed 2 protests (or perhaps they were connected). Events described below:

There was an old man walking trough the middle of Tiananmen square with a blue and white banner, and a bundle of paper which he was throwing into the air. A blue uniform police officer ran over to him and began yelling. The officer grabbed the man, but then let him go to try and pick up the paper lying on the ground. The old man ran off a few metres, and began throwing paper into the air again. The police officer then ran back to the man and grabbed him, took his banner away. One family sent their small boy in to take a piece of paper, the mother took the paper from the boy folded it up and quickly walked away, while others helped to gather up the papers.

About one minute after I first noticed the protest, 2 brown uniforms came running over to help collect the papers and secure the situation. After that Chinese people gathered around to observe thus making it impossible to know what was happening. At that time our tour guide hurried us away.

We then walked via the underground passage to the entrance of the Forbidden City. There I saw between 7 and 12 old people sitting on the pavement next to the road. They had a few police officers talking to them and in about 3 minutes they were gathered up and put into a police van and driven away.

I only went to Tiananmen Square once during my visit so I have no idea if this is a regular occurrence or I was just a coincidence that I was there on that day, but it seems that Tiananmen Square is still a strong symbolic location for protests.

I guess he might have been protesting about the government taking away his house to build a high-rise (since they do that a lot theses days) but I really have no idea why he was protesting. To take a piece of paper would have been a bad idea, if I was seen I would have been in serious trouble.

Picture- Left: Cleaning lady in blue helping to pick up the paper
Just right of centre: Protestor just after the cop had taken his banner
Further right: Cop holding the confiscated banner


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