Guarding Tiananmen Square

On Sunday afternoon, I and a friend did something we hadn’t done in a long time — took a stroll around Tiananmen Square, the closest thing that an atheist nation has to a sacred space. Because the Party Congress meetings had concluded a few days previous, security was still very much heightened.

There were policemen in blue uniforms, some cruising around on segways.

There were People’s Armed Militia members in green uniforms, marching around in groups of three.

There were plainclothes cops and militia members, easily identifiable by the fact that they all have the same haircut and leather jacket.

And strategically placed all around the square were bright red fire extinguishers, presumably to prevent any self-immolations, like those that have been taking place in the Tibetan regions.

Kind of sobering, really.

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