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Never forget

4 Jun

“Things are good now, China’s huge middle class is relatively content. But if things go sour and the people demand change from their government, don’t think what we saw on June 4, 1989 couldn’t happen again. The party will do absolutely everything it needs to to stay in power. Everything. Never forget.” –Richard Burger, one of my favorite China watchers and bloggers.

I think that I know more about what happened in those weeks than most people know. I wasn’t there, and I haven’t spoken to the participants about it, but I read two or three different books detailing the events leading up to it, I saw the documentary, and I read Zhao ZiYang’s journals detailing the hidden struggles between factions, which had to be smuggled out of China and was only recently published in Hong Kong. A few books and a film don’t make me an expert, but I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about what was going on at that time. I guess that my familiarity with the event, my passion for freedom, and how much I care about China as a whole all contribute to how I feel. There isn’t much that I can do at the moment, but I do hope that things improve within my lifetime. Until then, I’ll just hold the sorrow in my heart, and wish people the strength they need to endure.

8964 www.facebook.com/ThisIsHongKong from sofunny on Vimeo.

Financial Times piece on Beijing’s hutongs

30 Apr

Beijing City Plan from 2004. The yellow sections are culturally protected areas, most of which is now destroyed.

There is a very nice piece in the Financial Times on Beijing’s hutongs and the struggle of cultural preservation. This has been an ongoing issue in Beijing for the past few years, and anyone who is unfamiliar with the subject can fend nice information at The China Beat, as well as from China.org, and Asia SocietyThe Atlantic has a long and detailed piece which came out some time ago, but still serves as an excellent introduction to anyone knew to the issues of cultural preservation of hutongs in Beijing.

If anyone is curious for  more information, check out The Last Days of Old Beijing, a book by Michael Meyer.