Nobody at my office, in the city’s government building, seems to care much about what happened to the deputy sec. of the whole Province last week. Everyone just at their computers, doing their thing. Noon rolls around and everyone heads downstairs for lunch at the cafeteria.

Outside on the street a protest at the gates of the government building turns briefly violent as the police snatch two ringleaders out from the crowd and stuff them into the back of a paddywagon. I hear women screaming and men yelling from my fourth floor office and I see police grab one young kid, in his twenties from what I can tell from way up here, and beat him a bit after he tried to pull one of the men out of the wagon. Three cops are filming the whole process. Not to ensure that noone got beat, but to strike fear into everyne’s heart. We got you on tape and we will come and get you when you least expect it. I am afraid for them just watching the cops film it all. Two busloads of police pull up midway through the scuffle. Then it’s over.

My co-workers all jumped up and watched. And then wandered away. One came up to me and said: “take a picture and send it to the NYT, you’ll be a superstar.”

I said why don’t you become mayor and put a stop to it all.

He said, I would build a wall around Chengdu. We laughed. Because I don’t want him to know that I thought of the picture and the NYT and he doesn’t want me to know how little of a fuck he gives about the people on the street, fighting in the rain, watching their leaders get dragged off to …

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