Tianammen Square

I went to Tianammen Square one night and then to the night markets. This square is where the large military parades take place. It is a huge, wide open area with the forbidden city (where China’s emporer used to live) on one side and Mao’s mausoleum (apparently Mao has been pickled against his wishes and could be viewed here at one time) on the other.

I like this photo. A single, unarmed, unknown man (his name is unknown!!!) had the courage to face down a column of tanks and bring them to a halt in the square. He had to have known that it meant certain death. No one really knows what happenned to him. At least 800 other students were killed in the 89′ uprising.

One of the night markets in Beijing.

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… : )

Blairs speech

After reading Blairs speech, I have a whole new respect for his leadership. He speaks with a clarity and foresight that brings to mind another great British Prime minister. I can’t imagine this doing much for Blairs popluarity in Britain but, like W.H.C., he is calling it as he sees it. A few quotes from his speech,

And most contemporaneously, and in some ways most perniciously, a very large and, I fear, growing part of our opinion looks at Israel, and thinks we pay too great a price for supporting it and sympathises with Muslim opinion that condemns it. Absent from so much of the coverage, is any understanding of the Israeli predicament. I, and any halfway sentient human being, regards the loss of civilian life in Lebanon as unacceptable, grieves for that nation, is sickened by its plight and wants the war to stop now. But just for a moment, put yourself in Israels place. It has a crisis in Gaza, sparked by the kidnap of a solider by Hamas. Suddenly, without warning, Hizbollah who have been continuing to operate in Southern Lebanon for two years in defiance of UN Resolution 1559, cross the UN blue line, kill eight Israeli soldiers and kidnap two more. They then fire rockets indiscriminately at the civilian population in Northern Israel Hizbollah gets their weapons from Iran. Iran are now also financing militant elements in Hamas. Iran President has called for Israel to be “wiped off the map”. And he’s trying to acquire a nuclear weapon. Just to complete the picture, Israel’s main neighbour along its eastern flank is Syria who supports Hizbollah and house the hardline leaders of Hamas.It’s not exactly a situation conducive to a feeling of security is it? But the central point is this. In the end, even the issue of Israel is just part of the same, wider struggle for the soul of the region. If we recognised this struggle for what it truly is, we would be at least along the first steps of the path to winning it. But a vast part of the Western opinion is not remotely near this yet. Whatever the outward manifestation at any one time – in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Iraq and add to that in Afghanistan, in Kashmir, in a host of other nations including now some in Africa – it is a global fight about global values; it is about modernisation, within Islam and outside of it; it is about whether our value system can be shown to be sufficiently robust, true, principled and appealing that it beats theirs. Islamist’s whole strategy is based on a presumed sense of grievance that can motivate people to divide against each other. Our answer has to be a set of values strong enough to unite people with each other… We need relentlessly, vigorously, to put a viable Palestinian Government on its feet, to offer a vision of how the Roadmap to final status negotiation can happen and then pursue it, week in, week out, ’til its done. Nothing else will do. Nothing else is more important to the success of our foreign policy…

That is why I say this struggle is one about values. Our values are worth struggling for. They represent humanity’s progress throughout the ages and at each point we have had to fight for them and defend them. As a new age beckons, it is time to fight for them again.


Night on the town

I went to a cultural show last night which was about the only thing I found to do in Shenzhen. This won’t do it justice but I caught a few clips of it on my camera.


After the show I spent over an hour looking for a place to eat. I found this little resturaunt overlooking ‘the ecological park’. The resturaunt was Nan Tien Coffee Language or something like that. I didn’t understand the name but the food was good and they had live music. I ordered stuffed chicken and got stuffed shrimp instead. They were the biggest shrimp I’ve ever seen but not big enough as there were only two of them… But the iced latte was good and so was the music.

Altogether an interesting evening.

I have been grabbing lunch at a small Japanese resturaunt down the road. There is only one thing I ordered off of this menu. Not very adventurous I guess.