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Lethal Counterfeits

Paula Park, who is based in London, has written for the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Maria Repnikova: Patriotic Eclipse

As much coverage as the recent solar eclipse received in the Chinese and the international media, relatively little attention (if any at all) has been devoted to this occasion as a nationalist spectacle in China. Having observed the eclipse at the Tiananmen Square on Wednesday morning, I was struck by the degree to which the celebration of an astrological event became so interwoven with an apparent celebration of China. On Wednesday morning, July 22, Tiananmen Square, the scene 20 years ago of what's known here as the June Fourth Incident, and elsewhere as the Tiananmen Square Massacre, one of the largest and most violent protests against the communist government, was overrun last weekend by spectators—cosmopolitan but most certainly with the majority still coming from China. For the latest event, however, tour groups, photographers, families, students—all occupied the square in anticipation of a full solar eclipse, which takes place only once every 500 years. The eclipse was scheduled to peak at 9:20 AM, but photos were already being snapped as of 8:30. Mothers brushing their daughters’ hair, young couples, old people in wheel chairs—all ensured that what was happening on the ground was a spectacle worth taking in. Most notable, however, was the number of Chinese flags in the crowds, the marching party youth, and the extent of security personnel present in the Square on that morning. Couples holding hands were holding flags in their spare hands, while posing for photos. Kids raised the flags over their tiny heads, posing for their parents, and even some foreigners held onto the flags in an attempt to better blend into the crowd.

THE INDEX — June 17, 2009

Protests contin



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