A Season in Red: My Great Leap Forward in the New China

By Kirsty Needham | Go to book overview

10.
Street Scenes

It takes a bicycle to put Tiananmen Square into perspective. Humans are too small, they become specks beneath the Heavenly Peace gate. Kites disappear on long strings to become dots in the sky. The cars and buses that race periodically across its vast edges are just a rushing tide of steel, timed to traffic lights. But a single bicycle swaying slowly, purposefully, around the immense perimeter with legs pumping hard, now that gives you something to think about.

How many bicycles have flowed along Chang’an Boulevard and through this square in recent years, under the gaze of Mao, against a vermillion backdrop? Did the riders believe, or even look up as they pedalled to acknowledge the promise of the slogan, ‘Long live the Chinese People’s Republic! Long live the great unity of the people of the world!’

At dusk I stood watching. Lines of red flags fluttered like silk in the breeze. I was waiting for something to

-180-

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A Season in Red: My Great Leap Forward in the New China
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Prologue - Laowai, 2004 ix
  • 1 - Red Fever 1
  • 2 - Yellow Dust 12
  • 3 - China Daily 35
  • 4 - Certified Expert Foreigners 59
  • 5 - Dragon Gorge 70
  • 6 - Sars and Propaganda 86
  • 7 - A Captive Audience 102
  • 8 - Sky 128
  • 9 - The Campaign against Youth Spiritual Pollution 153
  • 10 - Street Scenes 180
  • 11 - When Red Means Go 194
  • 12 - Hot in the City 208
  • 13 - Gaining a Name, Losing Face 224
  • 14 - Checking out 247
  • Acknowledgments 271
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