Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Great Hall of the People 

My colleague and I in front of the Great Hall of the People.
The State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs hosted a banquet this evening at the Great Hall of the People. I have been there once before when they did this five years ago. I guess they figure every five years is a historical milestone of some significance. The Great Hall of the People could be called the political center of China, at least as far as government meetings are concerned, because it is the home of the National People's Congress. Government leaders actually live at Zhongnanhai, so that might be the real nerve center, depending on how you view Chinese government, and where power really resides.

At any rate, it is a very interesting place, because you just know, sitting there, that it would not look anything like this if it were built today. The grandiose Stalinesque architecture is clearly from a bygone era. Spacious, though. The Vice-Premier gave a nice little speech, and then we all ate. The food is usually pretty good in that place. They try to give you combination of Chinese and western food.

This year is the 60th anniversary of the "founding of the Republic," and the government is going all out. I generally take the subway down to Tiananmen sometime during the day on National Day (October 1st), but this year I have heard they are going to seal the place off. Security concerns, I guess. So this might be the only National Day event that I can be part of. I guess I won't shed any tears over it. The subways are really super crowded on National Day, especially on Line 1.

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