Monday, October 1, 2012

Sunday, September 16

On Thursday we started hearing reports that there would be protests on Sunday at our hotel. Here is why: there is an island called Diaoyu in the South China Sea. Both China and Japan now claim ownership of this island. The Chinese people are very angry about the Japanese claim to have bought the island from some Japanese family. This involved our hotel because the Japanese consulate is located in the Garden Hotel. On Saturday night some barricades were brought in and police started showing up. They were easily recognizable in their bright blue uniform shirts. The reason the protest was going to happen on Sunday was that people had off from work/college on Sunday.
We got up and went to the lobby to meet our group. We were headed to a place to do some shopping. As we were waiting for everyone to arrive the protesters starting marching right in front of the lobby doors. In our hotel there were two sets of glass doors/walls. After you entered the outside set there was a space which contained two areas one for the concierge and a stand that was selling moon cakes. When we heard the protesters many of our group moved out toward the outer doors to see what was going on. The protesters were waving Chinese flags and holding pictures of Mao Zedong. Some even had Japanese flags with black X's drawn through them. People in our group were videoing the protest and getting lots of pictures. Chinese police started running through the lobby from all parts of the hotel to get to the front to move the protesters away. The hotel staff told everyone to move back into the inner lobby of the hotel. The protesters were moved to the street in front our our hotel and we loaded in our van to head for shopping.
We spent the morning shopping for pearls, silk dresses, Chinese DVDs, and other souvenirs. We finished with a meal at Pizza Hut with the Jacksons. Stefan and some of the Jacksons bought some squid on a stick from a street vendor to eat. Yuck!

When we got back in the van our guide, Miko, informed us that a group of the protesters had stormed the front of our hotel breaking the glass and overturned things in the lobby. They made it to the Japanese restaurant on the second floor and destroyed it. Because of this the hotel was locked down and the thousands of more policemen were called in to protect it. We had to go to another hotel and follow a bus of other people who needed to get to our hotel. When we got close we realized how fortified our hotel was now. We were let through a barricade and pulled up to the side of the hotel. As we got off the van they told us to quickly get inside and head to our rooms. We were told not to leave the hotel that night. We couldn't see what was happening from the front of our hotel so we headed down to the 4th floor outdoor poll area where we could view the front where the protesters were.

Japanese restaurant that was destroyed.
Police sleeping in the garden.
view of the lobby
When it got dark we headed up to the Jackson's room as they were facing the front and watched for a while until the protesters were told to leave. It was definitely an interesting turn of events.


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