Protesting, Chinese style
Walking home from work a couple of days ago I discovered these signs of political protest on a shop around Qianhai. What I could make out is a familiar horror story in contemporary China; the forced reclaiming of old houses to make way for new construction. Although the government gives residents cash for the demolished house, many times the house in question is so undervalued that residents cannot afford an apartment in Beijing's inflated real estate market.
Among the cluster of signs above, the most notable are the characters below Mao's portrait that read "怀念毛主席," or "yearning for Chairman Mao." Nearly all such silent, passive-aggressive protest evokes Mao's name, something that is nearly as unheard of in contemporary China as protesting in the first place. To many Chinese, Mao is the symbol of an earlier, backward time, even if his face is emblazoned on all currency.
This is not the first time I've noticed this kind of protesting in Beijing; there is also a shop near Gulou located directly next to a large military headquarters with a sign that reads in English: "FOREIGN JOURNALISTS, PLEASE HELP." They also prominently feature a portrait of Mao in the window.
How am I implicated by living and working in such a place?