Forbidden City: A Novel of Modern China
Seventeen-year-old Alex Jackson comes home from school to find that his father, a CBC news cameraman, wants to take him to China's capital, Beijing. Once there, Alex finds himself on his own in Tian An Men Square as desperate students fight the Chinese army for their freedom. Separated from his father and carrying illegal videotapes, Alex must trust the students to help him escape.
Closely based on eyewitness accounts of the massacre in Beijing, Forbidden City is a powerful and frightening story.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Avenue were jammed. It was another demonstration. The marchers came into view from my left along with the bright sunlight. They filled the street, walking slowly under huge banners which bellied and dipped in the wind. As the procession came by, people from the sidewalks joined in. I got off the desk to wake Dad and Eddie. The demonstration turned out to be the biggest yet. More than a million people took part, students, factory workers, women pushing bamboo baby strollers. The banners shouted
doing busy work, or travelling across the world?” “You don’t have to convince me, Dad.” “Leave it to me, Alex. I’ll charm that principal right out of his socks. What’s his name, anyway?” “He’s a she, Dad.” “Whatever.” And he did. I have three courses this semester. My French teacher gave me an estimated mark (a B), my computer science teacher let me do a special project that took me a week of slugging to complete to make up for the stuff I’d miss, and my history teacher, Mr. Bronowski, who
inserted a couple of needles below the wound and a couple above it, twirling each one before letting it go. He stood up and screwed the cap back onto the bottle. While I sat there, punctured, Xin-hua’s friends passed on the news and rumours they’d picked up. Xiao Nie was helping out when he could at the Union Hospital. Xiao Yang had been touring on his bike, secretly taking pictures. He put two rolls of exposed film on the table. I wondered why, but didn’t say anything. Xiao Liu, a big solid guy
movement sent a jolt of pain through my leg. Next decision. What about Xin-hua’s request? I figured I’d tell her no. I’d leave the stuff with her and if she wanted to try to get it smuggled out of the country she was welcome. I had already been shot once, and I wasn’t sure how I’d act when I saw another PLA and his AK 47 with a bayonet sticking up from the barrel. What I did know was that the thought of being shot at again terrified me. So did the idea of rotting in a Chinese prison. I heaved a
he yelled to the soldiers and flashed a “V” sign at them, the sign a lot of students had used at Tian An Men Square. One of the troops shouted back. Just as our che drew opposite the soldiers — they were only eight or ten metres from us — one of them brought his AK 47 to his shoulder in a lightning move. The barrel jumped as flame shot out and a fraction of an instant later the wicked crack-crack-crack-crack deafened me. I took a look across the road in time to see the man slam to the pavement as