20 October, 2020

Peking Soupbowl

The Olympics will overlay patriotism with cosmopolitanism, and illumine old Beijing

Peking Soupbowl

There are many guidebooks that offer good suggestions about things to do in Beijing. My goal here is not to replicate what they do well, but rather outline a special sort of two-day itinerary, custom-made for historically minded, culturally curious visitors heading to the metropolis next month. I’m assuming that, with the historic first Chinese Olympics on their minds, even when taking a break from watching sporting events, such tourists will be particularly interested in sites that reflect, as the Games so often do, the complicated ways that cosmopolitan and nationalistic currents converge and diverge as different cultures alternately come together harmoniously or clash. If I’m right, these imagined Beijing-bound travelers are in luck. For China’s capital has long been and remains a place full of sites that offer intriguing windows onto global cooperation and global conflict and the many faces of both patriotism and its ugly cousins, virulent nationalism and jingoism.

For the first day of the tour, visitors can stay in the...



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