Ever have that feeling you are being watched? Well if you are walking around Beijing you most likely are. Everywhere you turn you will see a red and green clad guard standing in formation monitoring the pedestrian activity, and if you don’t see one of these guards, look close enough and you will see at least one, but possibly 100 cameras pointed in your direction. I am not too sure who is behind these cameras, but the men in green in red are hardly intimidating and throughout my time here I have hardly seen them budge, but are there just more to keep order and give the illusion of power and control, which I would have to assume they do since most people in China seem to be on their best behavior most of the time.
The closer you get to the forbidden city and the infamous Tian’enmen square, you will notice the rate of these guards vastly increases. First, just to enter the public square you will be corralled through security screening points as if going through the security check point for your flight. Then once on the other side guards will be at every corner, every door, every bush, every staircase, everywhere! They will be marching in formations of 3 or 10 and just patrolling to make sure everyone is in order. As a foreigner, from America, this seems a bit strange, but to the chinese this may just be their normal and there seems no difference. In fact the regulations may seem less enforced than they may have even 20 years ago.
Although their constant presence and the security checkpoints can seem to be a hindrance at points, I loved experiencing this aspect of Chinese culture. It gave everything in the Forbidden city a more official appearance and of course it was always fun to have staring contests with them!