Nicholas Quirke was reminded that it was an unspoken anniversary on 4 June 2021 of one of Beijing’s most iconic moments in history. It was 32 years since the democracy movement in China was quashed in Tiananmen Square and the Images of ‘Tank Man’ ricocheted around the world. Though there would be no rememberance celebrations he decided that he would make his own commemorative journey along the route that the army took along West Chang’an Avenue to Tiananmen Square and beyond. However, before he would begin his journey he really needed a refresh now that he had been given a further few days and he went for a final haircut at the Mobe saloon he had been frequenting since he had arrived in the city. Duly shorn they returned to the apartment for lunch, a delicious Mapu Tofu dish made freshly made by Penb’s mother and delivered along with more ‘brown sugar’ bao by his dad, before he set of on his ride to Muxidi where the protest had initially reached its zenith with trolly busses set on fire across the wide boulevard of Chang’an. From there it was a 9km journey passing through Tiananmen Square to the East of the city and the school at Chaoyangmen where he had a lesson that afternoon. The temperature had soared to 34 degrees and the skies were once again an astonishing cobalt blue with tufts of white cloud accentuating their rich hue. He had been warned that there might be an increased police presence on the streets due to the anniversary but along the route in the glare of the sun there was no sign of any expected disturbance and only the controls he was used to seeing were in place. He was surprised though by the huge crowds he saw queuing to access both the Capital and National Museums. It was hard to imagine the route he took under the state of emergency circumstances as they were in 1989 and in the beauty of the day and the lack of any visible signs his creative powers failed him. It was a gorgeous though hot ride through a beautiful city. He noted though the presence in Tiananmen Square of a giant TV screen on the corner of Tiananmen that had clearly been erected ahead of the celebrations that would be held on July 1st of the 100 year anniversary of the CCP. He was excited by the notion that he would be present in the city for the nationwide celebrations. His lesson was with the twins and Sissi and though there was some bad behaviour he managed to get through the lesson without too much irritation. He got home, was introduced to another new vegan Ice lolly and they watched a puzzling Japanese drama ‘Beneath the Shadows’ which due to the lack of any subtitles explaining a key document at the film end left them confused and reading more into the plot than was obvious. Despite being frustrated by the protagonist’s docility and lack of perception about the friendship this story revolves around there was something that kept him fascinated right to the end and some beautiful photography and landscapes as well the theme of what lies beneath the surface of those we come into contact with and allow ourselves to love was a human and compelling one. The pace of the film was slow and prepared him for a good night sleep.

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