From USA Today:
When I heard about this celebration last winter, I didn't have a problem with it. To me, it seemed like the Chinese version of similar celebrations that happen in America and other countries throughout the world.
Image from Reuters (click this link to see a large collection of incredible photos of the anniversary's preparation)
BEIJING — With armed SWAT teams, 1 million security volunteers, a celebrity-packed hit movie and a barrage of propaganda, Beijing is gearing up for a burst of pride and patriotism for next week's 60th birthday of the People's Republic of China.
On Thursday, six decades after Chairman Mao Zedong climbed the Tiananmen gate to declare the founding of Communist China, President Hu Jintao will preside over a huge military parade to mark the nation's rising strength and prosperity — and its continuing one-party rule.
After the successful, ambitious Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing last year, the government is leaving nothing to chance.
To prevent collisions when 150 planes do a ceremonial flyover, people are banned from holding kites or balloons or from releasing pigeons in the city's center.
In addition to the heavy police presence already visible, backed by volunteers wearing red armbands, Chinese security chief Zhou Yongkang mobilized what he described as a "security moat" of checkpoints in neighboring provinces to keep out potential protesters, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency. Zhou has called for a "people's war" to guarantee that nothing — and no one — disrupts the celebration.
At some point between last January and now though, I soured on this kind of propaganda. I'm not sure when this exactly happened, but I'm not nearly as tolerant of this kind of stuff as I was. Leaving China, and before that preparing to leave China, surely has something to do with my disillusionment. I believe that my fundamental attitude toward the China and its policies changed while I was living in the Middle Kingdom too.
When I first went to China in early 2006, I didn't know much about China or the CCP. I had a very negative impression going in from the media in the West. Over time, though, I saw that, for the most part, China is a country on the move and Chinese people are generally happy and their lives are getting better. For these reasons, I became more tolerant of the leadership of China and their actions.
The more I got into China news and the more deeply I came to understand the country though, China's methods became less endearing. To me, it seems like the powers that be are more interested in securing their own political hides and the mythical "harmony" than actually treating people like humans or developing the country in a sustainable way.
I'll be interested to see pictures and videos of the events on October 1. But I'm not going to be seduced by the greatness of the day like I maybe would have a year or two ago.