Friday, 14 March 2008
Views from my Beijing Windows
My idea today was to publish a post about the view from my window here in Beijing. I know that this is not a very original idea. Other bloggers have done that before. But I think it gives a great insight. Very simple, very basic. 'Oh, that’s how it looks like living in Beijing! Grey, okay it is winter - but blue sky, not that many of it back in Europe during this time of the year – neat residential area, not too bad.'
First picture (above): view from home office window – on the other side of the street is a typical Chinese apartment building. Why it has iron grid in front of some windows even on the 6Th floor? I don’t know. Beijing is a relatively safe city.
Second picture: view from my living room window – our tiny garden; not bad at all for living in the city just about 1 Li (600 m) outside the second ring road. Some of my neighbors have the whole garden plastered because the grass dies during winter. What you see is the left over grass. It looks more like a desert. Since yesterday the water is open and I can finally water my plants. No rain here during winter. And I will get new grass, as every year, next month. Unfortunately Easter is a bit early this year. But I could buy some plants. I have to admit, color is missing. I have some flowers at the entrance though, not in the picture. The bicycle is mine and waiting for me to go on a discovery ride.
Third picture: view from my bedroom window – when I wake up (and open the curtains) I can see lots of trees! And very often blue skies! In Beijing there are a lot of trees along both sides of the streets. Chinese people love and respect trees. They rather build around a tree then cut a tree. - And I love my orchids. I never throw them out. If you wait a while, they have more blossoms then before.
So this is a very simple and basic post.
I could stop here. But I have something else on my mind that has literally to do with “View from my Beijing Window”. I ask my self if living in Beijing changes your view on China? Of course it does. But did I start to wear ‘blinders’?
I got a phone call the other day from a woman who is going to move to Beijing soon. She is following her expat husband with their toddler and their baby. Beside her question about what I would put in the container (something that is not available in Beijing), she had more serious questions. She talked about what she has been reading and hearing about China in the Western media. About human rights and the freedom of press. I held my breath and for a second I was waiting the call to be interrupted. But nothing happened. So I assumed that it is not that bad here in China at least for the freedom of speech on the phone… although it does not mean that this call was not registered. She continued about food scandals and pollution and came back to human rights, about more people taken under arrest in order to avoid any civil disturbance during the Olympics…. Hello? Where am I living? Behind the moon? Am I sleeping in Beijing? Or do I wear blinders? Apparently she knows more than me. Maybe it is the Western media, which takes every tiny incident in China and makes a big story out of it. And on the other hand it probably has to do with some missing stories in Chinese media …
There is actually a story missing in Chinese media right now and people are wondering why. It is the story about a (apparently dilettante) terror attempt (– if it was any after all since there is not much evidence provided -) on a flight between Urumqi (capital of an autonomous region in the far west of China) and Beijing last Friday. You can read more about the strange case of a disappearing news story by British journalist Richard Spencer. The comments on his blog are very interesting as well. There are thoughts that the plot served as an excuse to arrest more … but then it might have become too much thread after a kidnapping incident in Xian just 2 days earlier … too much for foreign visitors to bear… and the mysterious terror incident was widely retreated from the press.
Different media views:
A second post by Richard Spencer, Telegraph: The plane incident...
The Times online: China says that it foiled a terror threat ahead of the Beijing Olympics
Die Welt: China fürchtet Terroranschläge zu Olympia
Der Spiegel: Chinesen decken Attentatspläne auf
Le Nouvel Observateur: Un attentat ouïghour déjoué à bord d'un avion de ligne chinois ?
The views out of my windows today are pretty much the same like yesterday. (Expat) Life is good in Beijing.