Friday, September 24, 2010

Before coming to China, I had expectations about the censorship and
authoritarian government formed in due part to our 24/7 news culture.
I thought the people would be modest and the outlook, well, bleak. I
imagined an oppressed people, eager to break out of their little world
and see all the things the actual world has to share. Upon arrival, I
quickly realized that it was my beliefs that needed to be reevaluated
due to ignorance and limited exposure to diverse ideas and opinions.
While the United States prides itself on freedom of speech and
diversity in thought, the truth is that the majority perceives and
understands the same ideas, reiterated by the news media. China is not
only an emerging economic power, but a land of increasing color,
style, and individuality. China's gradual freeing of self-expression
has flourished into a society developing its art and music scene. I
find it amazing that a society that grew-up with state run media,
dominated by music and art that's sole purpose was to glorify Mao
Zedong and the Communist Party, is now producing non-objective
contemporary artwork. Beijing strongly illustrates this dual concept.
Tiananmen Square somberly recalls the oppressive nature of Chinese
government. Across the city, at the Olympic Park, the Bird's Nest
reflects a drastically different side of the Chinese government.
Political dissident Ai Wei Wei served as Artistic Director. China's
showcasing of a contemporary architecture designed in part by a man
who speaks out publically about the Chinese government reflects the
current and potential growth of the Chinese people's creative

Meredith Rankin

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