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Notes on the Geography of Great Mirror: Photo 3

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Still farther north along the central axis, the Gate of Heavenly Peace (Tian'anmen) leads from the Inner into the Imperial city. Tian'anmen Square was greatly enlarged by Mao for his own solidarity-building purposes. What's most interesting, perhaps, is the enduring power of this Communist icon for Chinese who are furiously getting and spending. Perhaps it's like Americans who quiver before the Lincoln Memorial but have little interest in Lincoln's politics. Tian'anmen Square in this sense is famous because it represents the power of China, not because it was built to accentuate the power of the Communist Party. Mao's famous portrait is neatly blocked by the flagpole.

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