« Do Elephants Have Souls? | Main | »

December 21, 2014

To ride in a car marks you as an official, but the model, color, and size will vary according to your importance.

At the bottom levels one finds Russian, Czech, and Chinese medium-size cars, cream-colored or gray; at the top, one has long black Hung-ch’i limousines, with tulle curtains that conceal the passengers from the crowds.

Peking is thick with these capacious hearses; their blinded windows have an aura of august mystery, suggesting at the same time the Coach of the Holy Sacrament and the limousines that Arab sheiks shuttle their harems around in. One of the favorite pastimes of Peking people—they do not have many—is to crowd around the entrance of the Peking Hotel or near the Great Hall of the People on gala nights to see the long processions of official cars go past with drawn curtains. Those people, one feels, have no envy or bitterness—they have the experience of three thousand years of despotism—but only the normal curiosity of gapers who try to glimpse, however fleetingly, the faraway magical world where their mysterious rulers live.
Chinese Shadows: Bureaucracy, Happiness, History | ChinaFile

Posted by gerardvanderleun at December 21, 2014 5:17 AM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

"... three thousand years of despotism ..."
So it has been, and so it will ever be with these people.

The water flows, the rocks remain.
Old Romanian proverb.

Posted by: chasmatic [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 21, 2014 10:27 PM

In our country the peasants ride public transit. Soon it will be boxcars and FEMA busses.

Posted by: chasmatic [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 23, 2014 7:44 AM

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)