Today, I sent my parents to Tiananmen Square for their first taste of Beijing culture.
Today, an unidentified man blew up his car (and himself) at the entrance for an unknown reasons.
Because my parents were on site, I was able to flood my WeChat IMMEDIATELY with photos and comments to inform the rest of my foreign friends about what’s going on. Shockingly, none of them had heard of the bombing. Nor could anyone find any information online about it.
My parents took this picture only minutes before the bomb went off. Fortunately, they quickly became lost and wandered in a different direction.
This strikes a particularly sensitive cord for my family because we lost my Dad’s sister, Dora Menchaca, in the September 11th attacks. Her plane hit the Pentagon.
I’m finding it difficult to process this experience at the moment because if anything would have happened, I would be responsible for my three surviving siblings. I can barely keep myself alive… how I could possibly care for three other human beings at the age of 22 is literally unthinkable.
However, immediately after the attacks, my friends swooped in without even being asked. My roommate (who’s a saint) organized a private car to pick up my parents and directed their route to the other side of Beijing. A crossfit friend is leaving work early to track them down and settle their nerves. Another boss/friend just gave me the night off of Business English to be with them instead.
Beijing is a family. We take care of our own. I cannot even begin to articulate how much love I have for this city and my friends.
But back to business.
Here’s my first China test to see what gets through. I’ll add a follow up article in a week to discuss what really happened versus what we’re being told here in Beijing.
A few questions to keep in mind for all you critical thinkers out there:
What does censorship really mean in China? Is it as “bad” as we think? Or is the Western World being duped into believing our own versions of propaganda? Because no government is perfect. Some are just more upfront about it.
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About Vanessa Elizabeth
Vanessa Elizabeth is a cultural chameleon currently based in London. She enjoys sports (such as CrossFit and dating), cooking, and demolishing her savings account. When she's not busy blogging about her feelings, she works full-time and practices Chinese with her English/German friends.
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