This afternoon we went to Tianmen Square. It is a huge open square that can hold about 500,000 people. Across the street you can see where the student protesters used sewer grates as lavatories. Approximately 3000 people were killed during the 1989 student protests. The blood ran so thick on the stone pavement that the government had to completely repave the area. The protests were over corruption, not over the government; they were satisfied with the government.
There are no markers commemorating the event. Mao's tomb sits in the middle of section of it, a large stone column that serves as a memorial to all those who died in fighting for China sits in the middle of another, a soldier guarding it. Police and soldiers are everywhere. We went through two checkpoints to get in. While they did not bother us, allowing us to pass right through, Chinese citizens were searched, packages checked, identification required.
The square which used to be surrounded by government buildings sits between the first entrance to the Forbidden City and the Entrance Gate, a huge picture of Mao hangs from the Entrance Gate appearing to overlook the goings on in the square.
It is an impressive sight--As much for its size and memorials as for what is not there and commemorated.