Nanjing is what I had in mind when I imagined urban China. Lots
of bikes and Buicks, well-worn buildings interspersed amongst a
few new ones, hustle without bustle. She’s the old capital of
China, and moves at an appropriately stately pace. Her robes are
beginning to threadbare, but the nobility remains. She’ll be here
til the longafter.
The Chiang clan ancestral roots are here in this province and in
this city. My grandfather attended war college here, fought for
the Nationalists (making colonel), and escaped literally on the
last boat to Taiwan when it was obvious the Communists were going
to win in 1949.
Nanjing is the spiritual home to many Taiwanese who were in the
same literal and figurative boat as William Chiang. Dr. Sun Yat
Sen is often thought of as the father of modern China, and the
Taiwanese leadership like to think that they are the true heirs
of his legacy.
There are many memorials to the good Doctor here, including his
We saw them all.
A sobering afternoon was spent wandering around the Nanjing
Massacre Memorial Hall. The Rape of Nanjing occupies the same
dubious spot in the Chinese psyche that the Holocaust does in the
At least the Germans admitted their errors. To this date, the
Japanese government has not formally apologized for their war
All the exhibition signage in the memorial is prominently
displayed in Chinese, English, and Japanese. As far as typical
Asian subtlety goes, it’s somewhere on the scale of running
someone over with a bus to ask if they would please pass the
My conclusion is that all war is hell.
Uncle Mike is wacky as ever, and has been more than gracious in
schlepping us around everywhere, which is to say, using his bus
pass x6 every time our group heads out.
“bus” in Chinese translates literally as “work car”, which is a
lovely way to think about it.
Tomorrow, mom, dad, and Victor head back to the States, and I’m
in Beijing for another weekish or so. I’m feeling ill-prepared
and mush-brained but that’s the way things go.
Act II concludes.