The Great Wall

Well, this had to be the highlight of my time in Beijing. It was a beautifully clear day which is rare in China this time of year.

Part of the experience was the ride there. We played tag with another taxi the whole way while pumping Chinese / English disco music. A trip that was suppossed to take 3 or 4 hours took 2 and a half! I walked about 14 km’s of the wall to a place called Simitai. Unfortunately my camera died but I got a little video.

Click here to view video

Gangwashi Church, Beijing

I went to the Gangwashi Church this Sunday AM. I had heard that both President Bush and Condeleeza Rice had visited the church on their visits to China. Gangwashi is part of the ‘Three Self Patriotic Movement’ in China, a state sanctioned Protestant denomination. The state dictates who preaches and what they say. My experience this Sunday reflected that as the church seemed dead.

It wasn’t always that way. In 94′, Yang Yudong, former pastor of Gangwashi, was forcibly pulled from the pulplit and sent to a ‘re-education through labour’ camp because of his stance against the state. He was 73 at that time. Another pastor was appointed in his place. After this, many members left the church to become part of the underground church movement in China.

Taoism and the Dongyue Temple

I went to an active Taoist temple today set in the midst of sky scrapers in Beijing.

In the temple were 76 rooms that represented the 76 departments of hell over which the god Dongyue presides. Here is an example of one of the rooms.

“The Department for Demons and Monsters”

From the sign next to the exhibit – “Demons and Monsters are kinds of devils that often harm people in the dead of night. The department controls and supervises them and forbids them to wander and bewilder people.”

The department seems to be effective. I haven’t seen any of these walking around… have you?

Electronics Superstore

I needed a card reader so I asked around for a computer store. I ended up here! 8 or 9 floors packed with electronics. Most vendors had only a small space to sell their goods and many of them seemed to sell the same products. I don’t know how they make a living. I found my card reader for 7.00 CND but a Canon 30D cost about the same as it would have in Calgary.

A virtual madrassah

I’ve always wondered what the Islamic ulema teach their students. Here is a site that offers a window into this world. It’s a blow by blow commentary of the passages in the Koran that call for a holy war. Jihad: The Holy War of Islam and Its legitimacy in The Koran

If you wanted to know, here is why Christianity is lacking,

There is no substance in Christianity; it contains no more than a few moral teachings that form a set of advice such as “tell the truth”, “do not tell lies”, “do not gobble up the wealth of others”, and so on. Such things do not call for jihad? Islam however is a religion that sees it its duty and commitment to form an Islamic state. Islam came to reform society and to form a nation and government. Its mandate is the reform of the whole world.

from my downtown calgary hotel room

So my sister thinks that I am not really in Shenzhen but am just hiding out in China town.

So there is the Bow river behind me, some flooded barley fields and the calgary skyline, mostly hidden by smog… : )