I went to the candlelight vigil in People’s Square with my wife tonight. It gave me some mixed feelings.
I was happy to reverently hold a candle in memory of the many victims of the earthquake. On the other hand, I really didn’t see the need to wave a Chinese flag when people thrust it in my hands.
When people were chanting, “四川，加油！” (Sichuan, hang in there!), I felt good. When they chanted “中国万岁！” (Long live China!) it felt a bit less relevant.
The different types of candle displays reflected the different attitudes of the people in attendance:
I’m glad I went, and it gave me a few things to think about. In any case, “unity through nationalism in the face of adversity” certainly isn’t a Chinese invention.