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China: By Journalists Eye I. - Fight On Tiananmen Square

Published: 12.5.2012
Finally Beijing. Our journalistic team has battled a series of security checks and we find ourselves in an endless airport lounge. The feeling that the local crowd have to absorb us was not correct. Then we see a smiling Chinese lady and in minutes everyone sit in a luxury air-conditioned bus.

We are delegation saved by representatives the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as we expected, service and program come up. The bus weaves by fundamentally wide, seemingly new boulevards, not even telescope would not help us to see some of the remains of old buildings, or let alone the slums. After more than an hour away from parked five-star hotel and welcomes us many members group of staff with a respectful bow. We look forward to fried noodles or kung-pao, but alas. On the plate we have the classic fries and something like Wiener Schnitzel - probably respect for our gastronomic traditions.

Much needed afternoon rest in a hotel room won´t happened either. Unpack, change, take the cameras and in 30 minutes we have meeting in front of hotel. Such is our first encounter with Chinese industriousness, tenacity, determination to achieve goals and strict rules, which the country of the world helps enterprising communist approach to economic pedestal.

China years ago and now

Our guides has grown to two, in the hands had necessary wave stick, in their handbags our passports, and apparently a lot of other documents, whose origin is unknown to us. Nervously spur the laggards and significantly tapping their watch. On the way to our first destination cultural ministerial girls recite the complete program for 12 days - a moment trembling with anticipation, but then horror. Now we are heading to the famous Tiananmen Square.

It's June, the month when the whole western world reminds unfortunate anniversary of the massacre, where in 1989 the Chinese military brutally intervened here against demonstrating students - soldiers have made the ways by tanks and armoured cars and massacre 1300 of people who have called for the democratization the country. Our trip should get proves that today´s China is completely different. Somehow we can´t do that...

Blunder of Chinese diplomatic

We park about a kilometre from Tian'anmen and under led of wave sticks, with cameras on shoulders after perhaps today we step-lying sidewalk toward the square. As by chance the path is lined by dozens of soldiers at attention with a faraway look. We wonder why they are there - the answer is clever Chinese - "they do honour guard unknown to whom." Our aim is close, but we see through the smog curtain just a few meters ahead. And suddenly stop! Surrounds us several police officers at the curb stop police wagon and begins lengthy discussion.

Girls trying do the best, brandishing their documents, makes phone calls to everywhere, show all possible stamps and permits - we just amused and embarrassed look on, police are still adamant: With cameras in Tiananmen Square will not let anyone. Our guide is obviously unhappy. Anyway, they have official permission from the ministry! But the police can´t hear. We started to be sceptic, moreover, was more than an hour standing on the spot in 30 degrees heat. Another phone call and a triumphant look by of one of our guards. In a few minutes black limousine is coming, the man in a suit with red tie get out, pulls from his breast pocket a sort of ID card, show it to the police chief and disappears into the escort car. We are allowed to film.

The communist regime has clear rules – be silent

Objectives of cameras at first directed to the majestic Gate of Heavenly Peace, where we gaze piercing the communist dictator Mao Zedong, the founder of the People's Republic. For many Chinese, Mao is still great icon and we are committed to them to ask. The square bustles with visitors, mostly Chinese, the candidates for interview is not an emergency. I choose a young English couple, and we will contact him. For the greeting they react with a smile, but when I ask for answers to some questions, faces that do not understand a word. I repeat my request primitive language - just shake their heads and escape.

I can see a beautifully dressed middle aged lady with a necessary parasol - I'll try my luck here. The scenario is repeated to the last detail. The following is an attempt to "all good things come in threes" and understand that in the crowd mixed with the secret police are no answers to "tricky" questions confess. Disappointment, but his face reveals a progressive China. My journalist colleges from Slovakia, Ukraine, Poland and other European countries face the same disappointment - no one was successful.

Gigantic Square

So we give up hope to get interview and focus on the beauty of gigantic space, to which are breathtaking. We are the world's largest square, ants on area of ​​440 000 square meters, an area such as the Vatican. In the distance rises before us the gate to the Forbidden City and we are heading to a complex of palaces and temples, where Chinese emperors once commanded.

"Long live the People's Republic", "Long live the people of the world combined." These are signs that welcome us at the entrance to the palace maze. Right here in the stands Mao Zedong declared Nova China the first of October 1949. Also, read passages here scrolls with imperial edicts.

We have something like a map and by schedule hour for tour. That has a complex form of about 800 buildings with adjacent gardens, there is no time welcoming walks too. Therefore roams just beyond the gate, admire the beautiful ornaments on wooden buildings, at times feel perplexed by the question of how many objects deteriorate and are subject to the ravages of time. Then walk through the park and Zhongshan Gate University we run to the ceremonial part of town at least for one minute. The moat and walls you can see only from afar, the time is inexorably running out and be gone before we go back and dutifully jump into the bus, because delay is a major offense in China.

Text/photo: Andrea Fantová



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