When Propaganda Makes Sense

Falun Gong protesters still seem to be active in front of the Chinese consulate in Hamburg. It seems to be a rather orderly affair, rather than the allegedly messy way elsewhere, described in articles and comments collected by “Facts” (I don’t know who runs the site).

It was orderly too, when I went to the consulate long ago. It wasn’t a big demonstration then – there was only one practitioner doing his exercises on the opposite roadside, next to the Elbe River, and a young lady offering leaflets next to the consulate’s premises.

The consulate is located in a beautiful old mansion on a pretty big property. I stopped for a minute and watched the scene. And although I’m no fan of Falun Gong, I must say that they were making a powerful point there – not so much against the Chinese government, but against China’s foreign visitors. There were a lot of people walking up to the consulate, most of them probably to apply for a visa – and when they passed by the lady with the Falun Gong leaflets, many of them picked up the pace. Several actually ran a few steps to get away from her as quickly as possible. Then they went through the gate to get their paperwork done.

I moved along myself, and the lady approached me, as expected. I took the leaflet she held out to me and started reading. Then we had a discussion. She was apparently startled by my behavior. Which made it dawn on me that I was probably the only visitor to the consulate that morning who had actually stopped and talked. We had a five-minutes chat in front of several CCTV cameras (closed-circuit, not Central Chinese Television) fitted behind the fence.

Then I gave the leaflet back to her. “I think you’ll understand that I can’t take this material into the consulate”, I said. She wasn’t pushy at all, and took the leaflet back.

I went inside and applied for a visa. It was a smooth process. German public life ends behind the consulate’s gate, not in front of it. The Chinese consulate seems to understand this. Many Germans coming and going there apparently don’t. Had my seat been next to one of them on a plane to China, they would probably have lectured me about as to how the human rights situation in China keeps improving.

But they wouldn’t take chances. And I’m sure they hated the protesters.

One Trackback to “When Propaganda Makes Sense”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: