The last time I flew to Beijing from the U.S., I had to pass through a full-body scanner at an airport security checkpoint in Louisville, Kentucky. One of the people in front of me was an elderly man in a wheelchair.
When his turn came, two security officers helped him to his feet and guided him into the machine. “Can you stand on your own?” one of the officers asked.
“I think so,” the man said.
He kept his arms raised long enough for the machine to take an image of his body and then, with the help of the security officers, returned to his wheelchair. Continue reading →
As tourists file into the Yonghe Lama Temple, a woman carrying a gray sack stops near the entrance and gets down on her knees.
She bows, lowering her head so close to the ground that her shoulder-length hair hangs inches from the concrete. Still hunched over, she extends her hands, palms up, toward a plastic bowl in front of her body. The bowl is filled with coins and a few yuan bills.
Most people walk past the woman without looking down, pausing only to snap a few pictures of a historic arch outside the temple – a Buddhist monastery that is one of Beijing’s most visited tourist attractions. Continue reading →