Category Archives: Beijing

Beijing Demolition Protest

Beijing Protest

Yesterday, there were crowds reading the signs posted on this shop south of Nanluoguxiang. All of the neighbouring properties have been demolished to make way for a new subway station.

The English signs say ‘Maintaining our legal rights with the life’, ‘Our life and death with my shop together’ and, on the other side of the building, ‘Shameless landlord and demolition company deceive state property’.

The owners are not Beijing locals and won’t receive full compensation. I recently wrote that demolition protesters cover their shops with flags, Mao posters and Party logos in order to show that their protest is directed towards specific corrupt officials and not the Party as a whole. In this case they didn’t do that, which may be one reason why today the building looked like this:

Beijing Protest Over

Happy Chinese New Year, protesters. I hope you get out of jail soon.


What Have I Become?

Based on my last two posts, I’ve become someone who posts pictures of their pets online. Is there any worse indignity? I’m one step away from uploading photographs of a kitten in a miniature beret. Enough animal pictures for now, I think.

Who reads this site? Hardly anybody. But according to my ‘site stats’, the miniscule readership of this blog is evenly split between those who know me and people who have found the site after searching for ‘wooden Uzi’, ‘how to make a wooden Uzi’, ‘Uzi model’ or ‘Uzi model kit’. Thanks to one picture I posted here, my blog has become a major global wooden submachine gun resource.

A couple of the stranger search terms that led people to my site recently were ‘Tom Snik dead’ and ‘Tom Snik murdered’. I have taken these as veiled death threats and gone into hiding.

I made another trip to the Vietnam embassy this morning and, again, it was closed. Is it any wonder that Vietnam remains poor when they show such contempt for people who want to visit and spend money there? They had told me to come back on the 6th, but I’m not going to get my passport and visa until at least the 8th. Now I’m concerned that this will have a knock-on effect on obtaining my North Korea visa.

Going to the embassy is an hour and a half roundtrip on the subway. My tolerance for Beijing’s subway has now reached an all-time low. 95% of all profanity that leaves my lips does so on the subway. There is no other place where I have to repress the urge to lash out. I’m left speechless by the utter lack of spatial awareness on display – families that dawdle five abreast blocking an entire corridor; people who get to the top of an escalator and then stop stock-still so that the people behind knock into them; couples who stand still on the moving walkway creating a stationary queue of dozens of people behind them unable to get past. Add to that queue-jumping, pushing, shouting into mobile phones, and blocking doorways and the subway is only slightly more civilized than the chimp enclosure at Beijing zoo. But at least nobody flings shit at you on the subway.

Colourful fog at 798

A couple of weeks ago I saw an installation at 798 for which the artists had constructed a vast room filled with fog. I went back again yesterday to take some pictures. It wasn’t quite as exciting this time round – it’s essentially little more than a silent disco with overactive fog machines. And I didn’t get the sense, as the curator claimed, that it’s a ‘manifesto of a creative dialogue developed between the two (artists)’ but it was fun in an amusement park attraction sort of way.

It couldn’t beat my favourite trip to 798, when I unintentionally took my students to see some of the most grotesque sculptures imaginable.

Tongzhimen Hao!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It’s been quite some time since I abandoned my last blog. My lifestyle of sitting, sleeping and eating didn’t provide me with enough material to blog about. But now, as I count down the days (well, five months) until I pack my bags, leave China and travel Asia, I feel that I have a little more to say.

That said, I spent most of my weekend bedridden after eating some out-in-the-sun-too-long street food and didn’t do much worth reporting. I felt a little better on Sunday evening so went to a Japanese restaurant and, en-route, took a photo of this Batman-butterfly gate outside ‘The Graduate School of China Art Academy’.

Batman butterfly gate

It looked far more impressive in the twilight than it does under the rude glare of a camera flash.

Until the travelling starts, I won’t have an awful lot to write about, so I’m going to use this time for some zen-like reflection on my time in China, and to post some of the more interesting pictures I’ve taken during my time here.

Chinese translation:

你好. 我爱你. 再见.