If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that I write about mundane aspects of day-to-day life here in this great city and country. In fact, I had a little bitty topic picked out to write about today. But then the larger implications of bringing our family to live here hit home yesterday.
My son texted me that there was some important news — where was I? Could I talk? Of course, that makes a mother sit up straight and worry a little.
On Sunday, the father of one of his best friends here was arrested on charges of espionage and stealing state secrets. My son and his buddies had just learned about it from reading the newspaper and you can, too, and draw your own conclusions about what’s going on here. I’ll give you a few sites at the end of this post.
Saturday evening, we had an American-style barbecue here in our garden to celebrate the 4th of July. Hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, apple pie — and although we didn’t actually read the Declaration of Independence, I couldn’t help but think about it. A swarm of young adults of varying nationalities wolfed it down and we even played Jimi Hendrix’ rendition of the Star-Stangled Banner while they popped off firecrackers. I chatted with the kids and was glad to see them back here from college, including the young Chinese-Australian friend who has always been so friendly and exceptionally polite. He seemed so much happier now that he has transferred to Cornell University from a school in Europe.
The next day, his father, whom I have only met once at a small party we threw together when our sons graduated from Shanghai American School, was arrested by the Shanghai State Security Bureau and apparently hasn’t been seen since. Being lawyers, my husband and I have had many occasions over the past years to refer friends and acquaintances to appropriate attorneys in the US and for visa, family law, and business and employment matters here in China.
But this is different. All I can do is tell my son I will put the graduation photos of his friend’s family in my big prayer wheel from one of China’s western regions and swing it good and hard — and pray.