Forbidden City: A Novel of Modern China
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Seventeen-year-old Alex Jackson comes home from school to find that his father, a CBC news cameraman, wants to take him to China's capital, Beijing. Once there, Alex finds himself on his own in Tian An Men Square as desperate students fight the Chinese army for their freedom. Separated from his father and carrying illegal videotapes, Alex must trust the students to help him escape.
Closely based on eyewitness accounts of the massacre in Beijing, Forbidden City is a powerful and frightening story.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
students. Some were sitting, gathered around portable radios, some standing and talking, others were singing and clapping their hands. As I passed them I heard “Hello! Hello! Mr. Reporter, come talk to us!” A guy with a red baseball cap on and a loud-hailer in his hand was talking to me. Well, I thought, why not? “Hi,” I said. “What country you are from?” he asked. “Canada. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. How about you? What university are you from?” “People’s University.” “I am from Bei
red flags on top of the Great Hall of the People in the distance that the wind was stiffening. The street below me stepped up its life. Buses snorted along, the bikes came out in force, pedestrians hurried here and there, taxis turned into the hotel parking lot or slipped out into the street and away. It wasn’t too long after that when I realized that something was going on. What tipped me off was that a lot of the pedestrians had stopped moving and soon the sidewalks on both sides of Chang An
and he was safe. How messed up and alienated and alone he must have felt after he had been back for a while. I’m not saying that what I’ve written here is like the poem. This is just what I put together from a journal I was keeping when life was pretty calm, and from the notes and tapes I made when everything began to blow apart. Dad was pretty worried that night when I sort of went mental for a few hours. He seems to think that writing this will help me re-adjust to normal life. I don’t know.
shortwave. Did Deng and Li and the gang really think they could stop it? I looked at all the electronic gear on the table — battery packs, two-way radio, video and audio recorders, the shortwave. What kind of world did those guys think they were living in, anyway? The radio was a Chinese model and was plugged into the light socket above the table. It hissed and sputtered, then shouted Chinese, then hissed some more as Xin-hua turned the dial. Finally she shut it off. I turned on the two-way and
lacquered cane. “This was my grandfather’s,” she said. “Nai-nai said you should use it.” “Great,” I said, and pulled myself up. I tried out the cane, hobbling around the house. It was hard to use because if I wasn’t careful I lost my balance when I stepped onto my good leg, but it sure was better than hopping. My headache was pretty mild that morning, or maybe it only seemed that way because my leg hurt so much. I got my hat and sunglasses and struggled outside to use the tap to wash my face.