I think by now, most people are aware that Santacon Beijing took place over the weekend on saturday! Yours truly took part in it and spent most of the day busing around Beijing with a merry group of locals and expats having fun and enjoying a beautiful Beijing day.
Picture courtesy of Jonah Kessel:
There are some really good accounts of the event so I don’t need to go over that again. Read all about it over at:
Beijing Boyce: http://www.beijingboyce.com/2010/12/13/beijing-santacon-diary-with-mulled-wine-christmas-carols-a-tiananmen-scuffle-and-more/
Jonah Kessel: http://blog.jonahkessel.com/2010/12/12/santarchy/
Sadly however, some media organizations chose to focus on the negative with headlines about Chinese security kicking Santas off the square:
Global Times: http://beijing.globaltimes.cn/society/2010-12/601197.html
I was there and it didn’t go that way!!! When we first arrived to the square, security was definitely aware of our impeding arrival! They had English speaking guards who were extremely polite directing traffic and asking all the santas to gather in one spot for a picture. There was absolutely nothing bad about their attitude or behavior.. until…
One particular photographer who was following the group of Santas decided to get in the face of a guard and start a confrontation. The guard politely asked him to put his camera away but the photographer kept screaming and displaying the kinda of attitude that was not welcome or needed at such a gathering.
Said photographer had made himself noticed earlier when going through security by constantly banging on the X Ray machine and screaming “come on” as he seemed annoyed that it took a while to get through.
One of Santacons’ basic principles is “don’t be a dick” and this gentleman was one hell of a dick! As a media member, he SHOULD observe and stay out of the way, not provoke headlines. From my perspective, that what he was after!
After he got in a shoving match with the guard resulting in said guard falling down, all bets were off! Security was polite and firm in asking us to please leave the square and you can’t blame them. As a group, we were clearly in breach of Chinese law with an unnaproved public gathering and no identifications in most cases. He was taken away and released a few hours later according to Beijing Boyce. Other photographers had absolutely no problem and got their pictures just fine.
I take offense at media members seeking more sensationalism and I take an even bigger offense at members of the media provoking the news…. it’s stupid, uncalled for and will definitely result in negative repercussions for upcoming Santacons.
The rest of the day was fun and very much in the spirit of santacon… I’m looking forward to next year and hope that one douchebag didn’t ruin it for the rest of us.