Thursday, April 22, 2010

What I saw at the revolution...

"Now he was master of China. His coming [to Hangzhou, near Shanghai] had been suitably prepared. A famous turn-of-the-century estate called Water and Bamboo had been picked for him. It was adorned with ponds and bamboo groves, and vines and palm trees, and enjoyed a panoramic view over the Western Lake. Villas next to it, and the hills behind it, were all incorporated into a single enormous estate, covering 36 hectares. The hill behind was hollowed out to provide a nuclear shelter. Mao stayed in an exquisite building, combining classical Chinese and exotic foreign styles, with pillars, doors and decorations which had been lovingly shipped in piece by piece by the original owner. But shortly afterwards, Mao had it torn down and replaced with his usual nondescript identikit structure. The creaking of the old timber had rattled his nerves with thoughts about assassins. He only felt safe in a reinforced concrete bunker."
-- Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story

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