Arrived in Beijing

8/19. Traveling on a plane with kids and taking a 24-hour trip to China is about as fun as you’d expect. So I’ll skip that part. We’ve arrived safely in Beijing. After a short delay, we were met by car at the Beijing airport…well not a car….they knew we had kids and lots of luggage so they sent an entire bus just for us. Before bedtime I stopped an Asian fast food restaurant and simply ordered everything off the menu. But since the menu was not in English, I simply kept saying “one of that, one of that” in Chinese. We ended up with two dishes of stir-fry rice, veggies, and mushrooms, a dish of chicken, and an odd dish of boiled pork and chicken balls on a stick in broth (no one touched the latter). We slept from 7pm to 3:30am Beijing time, and had an early 6am buffet at the hotel. After breakfast we went swimming in the great hotel pool.

It’s clear this part of the trip is beginning more family vacation, but we’ll move on to more cultural and academic pursuits very soon.

Also, I just learned that WordPress is blocked by the Great Firewall of China so I’m writing and saving these posts in Word (hoping to post them later.)

After swimming we went to the grocery store (Parkson’s) and bought Watson’s bottled water (from Hong Kong) and shu bao zi (vegetable steamed buns/dumpling). After using our phrase book, we were able to learn that they did not have bean paste buns (which Andrea loves).

We then went home for lunch (courtesy of room-service), and we all took a nap. Good think I woke up from the nap after 4 hours…I had to wake everybody up as everyone would have slept until midnight. We went to dinner with a friend and now to bed. Tomorrow, we’re off for a tour of the Ming Tombs and Great Wall of China at Badaling.

On an academic note, the Chinese government has continued to bring action against public interest lawyers in China, and may pursue action against foreign non-profits that have offices in China. What does this mean for the future of the rule of law in China? Once at Sun Yat-sen University, I think it will be very interesting to teach my American Legal System course (discussing constitutional rights, etc.) and environmental and natural resources law (e.g., citizen suits provisions, and enforcement). Of note, written Chinese constitutional and statutory law is arguably progressive, but what I’m curious to see is what my future students will think as they learn about the practical implementation and enforcement of law in the U.S., and the American system of checks and balances.

Andrea and I meanwhile are trying to figure out a way to access our blog feeds so we can post this info. (Limited and VERY slow success in doing so, so we’ve been able to post the above.)

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