You know that any day that begins with the most terrifying subway cartoon ever is going to be great
Actually, a stop, drop, and roll safety video
Yesterday we went to the Marco Polo Bridge, which is most famous in China for being the site of the Japanese invasion of China. After the establishment of Manchuko, Beijing was surrounded on three sides by the Japanese. Further, the Empire of Japan used the Boxer Protocols to station guards south of Beijing, as well. Imperial hostility, combined with one misplaced soldier, directly lead to an hours-long firefight on this bridge
As the Japanese would have seen it
and the start of World War II.
Numerous lions guard your way over the bridge, which are in various states of renovation and repair. This lion, for instance, has been substantially repaired at least two times, once quite compenently and the other… not
As you approach the Marco Polo Bridge from the north-east, there is a surprisingly moving memorial to Chinese losses in the War. The style reminds me of a combination of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (without the “ditch” so disliked by Senator Webb) and Pablo Picaso’s Guernica. Very well done.
As with everything in China, the scale is large
After the garden and the bridge, I went to the Museum of the War of Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. Really, I did:
There is more English on this ticket than in the Museum
The Museum of the War of Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression is the hardest museum to get into I’ve been at in China. The Military Museum in Beijing supposedly requires a passport to get into, but last year I just walked up and was given a ticket. Not this time. The Museum of the War of Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression requires both a photo ID and proper attire (shorts are oK, but not sandals). My friend had a photo ID, I had shoes, and we had our priorities (me: gaining an inside account of how a Museum run of, by, and for the benefit of the Communist Party views the largest war of the 20th century; her: ice cream), so I was off to explore!
The museum was interesting, it contained both depictions of Communist Leaders
The Flag of the Rising Sun and the Flag of the Five Races (RGROC or PGROC)
What is this?? — looks like a combination of the PRC and ROC flags
As well as a side-exhibit about the Olympics
2008 Paralympic Uniforms
There were also some curiously inconsistent maps — for instance, is Mongolia part of China?
Also, Kind Of
My guess is that the CCP considers Mongolia to have been a part of China until the establishment of the People’s Republic, and the ROC (even now) insists that “Outer Mongolia” is a province of China.
Near the end the Museum also emphasized the importance of openness. The KMT’s contribution is (at least partially) recognized in a gigantic painting depicting the surrounder of the Empire of Japan to the Republic of China:
When did this surrender happen?
And, in the very last room, a photograph celebrating the “Signing Ceremony on China’s Accession to the WTO.”
The People’s Victory
Our journey was made all the more interesting that we got there entirely with public transportation, taking a citi bus from Line 1 to the site. South-west Beijing is a different type of city — more country-side, as my friend would say. I saw more horses on this side trip than I have in the last two years combined.
A fascinating trip!