Day 2: Visit to Peking University and Guest Lecturer Richard Hsu, TEDxShanghai

Monumental Beijing

We had a full day today in the Chinese capital. Our first stop: Tsinghua University, where we met with Professor Fu Zhiyong at the Academy of Art & Design (清華大學美術學院). The Academy building houses programs in everything from graphic art to industrial design, and includes studio space for artists, media labs, and the classroom for our workshop.


For today at least, the sky was blue beyond belief—a true rarity in this city.  The sky above Beijing is usually a murky grey, but you couldn’t tell it by the swirls of white clouds against the cerulean backdrop overhead. (As Deland put it, “It’s deceptively nice out.”) It seems we brought the Californian sunshine with us, lending the day a pleasant, golden sheen.

The Forbidden City (紫禁城)

After a quick lunch of noodles, we traveled by bus to the heart of Beijing: Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. We walked through the massive plaza, where tourists (Chinese and foreign) intermingle with uniformed guards and plainclothes policemen. The role of the public square as a political symbol was clear. “Do people dance on the square?” one student asked. “No, they do not!” the tour guide hastily replied.

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