Forbidden City by William Bell

Forbidden City by William Bell
What is a tumulus?
A tomb hidden under a man made mountain.
Which Chinese Emperor built the Great Wall of China?
Qin Shi-huang, the founder of the Qin dynasty, in power from 221 to 207 B.C.
What is the most famous book on Chinese history and who is the author?
The Art of War - Sun Zi
What situation occurred to cause Ted Jackson (Alex=s father) to go on assignment to
The camera man there came down with hepatitis and didn=t to be treated in a Chinese
hospital, she le left and this left an opening for Ted.
Where does Alex stay in Beijing? P.12
Beijing Hotel
What is the population of Beijing?
Three times that of Toronto (10 million)
Describe CBC News correspondent Eddie Nolan.
A heavy middle aged white man, who smoked a thick stemmed pipe and had a walrus
moustache. He wore a wrinkled shirt , baggy pants and slippers.
What is the English meaning of Lao Xu=s name?
Means [email protected] and his given name is Bing-long - means Bright Dragon.
Why was Alex given the name "Shan Da" and what is its English meaning? P. 24 - 25
Lao Xu was unable to say his name so he called him Shan da - means tall mountain
because he was tall
What is the Long March and who was it=s leader?
The long march was one of the greatest feats in military history, where a hundred
thousand Communists had retreated twelve thousand, five hundred kilometers from fujian
Province in Southern China to the west as far as Tibet, then far north to Yanan, fighting
Nationalist soldiers and local war-lords almost all the way. They were led by Mao-Zedong into Yanan more than a year later when there were only a few of them left.
How can you tell the rank of a member of the PLA (people=s liberation army)?
You can tell the rank of a member of the PLA by the number of pockets on his coat.
Officers have four, enlisted men have only two.
What is AHu [email protected] and what significance does it have for the Chinese people?
Hu kou is a sort of census, and residence card mixed together. A lot of food in China is
rationed and to get your ration coupons, you have to show your hu kou. Without it you
can=t get the coupons. The government also controls population movement with the
What is the name of china=s official newspaper and what is the saying that the Chinese
have about it?
China=s official newspaper is AThe People=s [email protected] and that saying is that in that paper,
only the date is true.
What is [email protected]?
PinYin is the alphabetical system the Chinese use to teach kids how to pronounce the
Characters in the national language.
What is China=s national language?
China=s national language is Mandarin
What does AGuan [email protected] mean in English?
What is the hardest part about learning the Chinese language? Why?
In English, Guan Xi means
[email protected]
The hardest part about learning the Chinese language is the tones. You can say a sound
four different ways, using the tones.
What are Ahu [email protected]?
Hu Tongs are alleys, in old residential neighborhoods in Beijing, instead of streets. They
lead into courtyards.
Who is Hu Yao-bang? What happened to him on April 15, 1989?
Hu Yao-bang was a party bigwig who was dumped by the big boss for being too lenient
with student demonstrators. He was very sick and died on April 15, 1989.
Who is Deng Xiao-ping?
He was the big boss of the Chinese Communist party.
What do you know about school in China?
School in China goes six days a week.
What is an erhu and what does Alex say about it?
An erhu is a Chinese instrument with two strings, and is played with a bow. Alex says it
sounds like a violin with the stomach flu.
What is Afeng [email protected]?
Feng Shui is a sort of astrologer who would consult his charts and interpret signs and give
you the luckiest date for what you were planning to do.
The story told in the teahouse has a moral that has led to a famous Chinese saying. What
is the moral and the saying?
The moral of the story is to use your opponent=s strengths against him. The saying is
AStraw boat borrow arrows.
What name did Alex give the male student demonstrator he interviewed?
The name Alex gave the male student demonstrator was [email protected] Hong means red in
Chinese and the student was wearing a red baseball cap.
What name did Alex give the female student demonstrator? Why?
Alex gave the female demonstrator the name [email protected] which means blue in Chinese because
she was wearing jeans and a jean jacket.
What special treatment did powerful men and women get in the Chinese communist
The bought foreign goods in special stores, special housing, hospitals with the latest
medical equipment. Their relatives and children got good jobs and privileges. They
used government expense to send their kids to foreign universities and to fatten
According to Eddie, why did the students start their hunger strike when they did?
He figured their tactics was to force the government to give into their demands because
the government wouldn=t want hunger strikers in Tian An Men Square when Premier
Gorbachev arrived.
What does the term AXio [email protected] mean in English?
The term means ordinary people.
Who is the premier of China at this time (1989)? Who is the chairman of the communist
Li Peng is the premier of China and Zhao Zi-Yang is the chairman of the communist
What does Amartial [email protected] mean?
Martial Law means that all laws are suspended, even the constitution, and the
government makes policy directly, using the military to carry it out.
What is the meaning of both [email protected] and Deng [email protected]?
Xio-ping means little bottle and Deng Xio-ping means little peace.
What is the meaning of ADa [email protected]
Da Feng means big wind.
What is the Goddess of Democracy?
The Goddess of Democracy is a statue, much like the American Statue of Liberty. It is
made from huge white square objects which are fitted together. It is a statue of a woman
holding a torch with two hands.
What do the letters ENG stand for?
ENG stands for Electronic News
Why does Alex say that Eddie=s disguise wouldn=t fool anybody?
Alex says that Eddie=s coat couldn=t hide his thick body and potbelly and that there are
very few chubby Chinese men.
What significant occurrence takes place on page 157?
Lao-Xu is shot by a soldier.
What significant occurrence takes place on page 164?
What is a [email protected]
Alex is shot in
the leg
A kang is a bed made of bricks. In cold weather a fire can be set under it to keep the
family warm.
What is the most common Chinese surname and what is it=s meaning?
The most common surname in China is [email protected] and it means King or Emperor. This
was Xin-Hua=s surname.
Explain the sue of the word >[email protected] on page 178.
The bonfires were actually the PLA burning bodies in the square so they could deny that
the massacre had happened. They could say that they didn=t kill anyone.
How did the Chinese people get the [email protected] news, the truth about what is taking place in
their country?
The news gets OUT of China through foreigners smuggling out videos, giving eyewitness
accounts when they get out , or making long distance phone calls. The news comes back
IN again on shortwave radio.
What is a APing ban [email protected]?
A ping ban she is one of those vehicles that look like a giant tricycle with a flat platform
behind the rider.
Where is the Canadian Embassy located in Beijing? It is located on San Le Tun street
Nai-nai gives Alex money when she says zai jian. Mandarin for goody-bye)
How do you know when a question is being asked in Mandarin?
You can tell that a question is being asked in Mandarin by the [email protected] at the end.
How do you say [email protected] in Mandarin and what is it=s literal meaning.
Pop is AQi [email protected] in Mandarin. It means Agas [email protected]
What do you know about public displays of affection in China?
Public displays of affection between men and women are considered very bad manners in
Members of the PLA were admired by Xin-hua and other young Chinese people. What
was the term of endearment they used for them? What did the term mean?
The term of endearment was [email protected] which means uncle.
On page 232 Alex makes a comparison between his friends living back in Canada and
life in Beijing. Explain.
Alex says that his friends back home all live in nice houses, some with pools in the yard,
most with basketball hoops over the garage door. They have color tvs, vcrs and a late
mode car in the driveway. In Beijing, a little washing machine was a status symbol. To
Alex, life in Beijing was more real and less materialistic.
What was the name of the student who stood in front of the convoy of four tanks? What
became of him after the incident?
The student=s name was Wang Ai-min. He was later arrested and executed.
What was Alex=s reaction to all of the killing by the PLA in Beijing, after he got back to
He jumped up from the couch, screamed something, threw the remote at the tv, got a
hockey stick and destroyed all of his military models. Later he melted down all of his
lead soldiers.
On page 272, Alex states AAll the soldiers from all the wars meted down together into
lead [email protected] What is symbolic about this statement?
This statement symbolizes Alex=s disgust with wars and all the things connected with the
military. Before his experience in Tian An Men Square, his hobby had been making and
painting these models with great attention to detail. Also bullets are made of lead.
On the last page of the novel, Alex says that it was all a game to him, but it isn=t anymore.
What died he mean?
Alex meant by this statement that when he looked upon wars and military operations as
part of history, if fascinated him and he enjoyed his collection of military paraphernalia
as a hobby. The reality is that war up close is far from just a game or hobby - it was
What is the time span of this novel?
The time span of the novel is almost exactly three months, from March 29 to June 28,