December 04, 2003

That One Time, In China. . .

I visited China my senior year of high school. It was an incredible trip, to be sure, complete with obligatory trips to the Great Wall, The Summer Palace, the former residence of Sun Yat Sen, The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and even a quick sojourn in Shanghai.

But, for some reason, last night, I had a very vivid dream that recounted, with some inaccuracies, one incident I had very nearly fogotten.

My classmates and I were standing in line at Tiananmen Square to the tomb that houses the corpse of Mao Tse Tung (those Communist nations soooo enjoy preserving their beloved leaders). Just for the record, Mao looked like a pumpkin, and a poorly carved pumpkin at that.

Anyway, as we were standing in line, during a particularly nice spring day, I heard a scream to my left. I looked over, and there I saw three Chinese police officers beating the living shit out of some female Chinese tourist who had either done something seriously wrong or who had done something minorly wrong and was being seriously punished for it. Whatever the case, there was a major league ass-whupping going on not more than 20 feet from me, and I didn't know what to do.

Then, the weirdest thing. While two officers dragged the victim to a nearby car and whisked her away to destinations unknown, the third officer crushed her disposable camera under his heel and then leaned down and unspooled the film, thus obviously ruining whatever was on it.

Just as the woman, kicking and screaming, was being loaded into the car, and just as the officer stood there exposing the film, I started to raise my own camera to get a picture of the bizarre event. No sooner had I brought the camera to my face than Mr. Stern, my teacher, grabbed my shoulder and warned, simply, "DON'T!" I looked at him, and the look in his eyes was as commanding as anything I think I've ever seen. His eyes said "DON'T" way louder than his voice did.

So, I didn't, though there's a part of me that really wishes I did.

Posted by Ryan at December 4, 2003 04:38 PM
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