BELLINGHAM, WA -- Sheehan World publisher Kathy Sheehan risked her life by smuggling photos and many yards of fine Chinese silk out of Beijing during a recent trip to the People's Republic of China.
In open defiance of Chinese censors, Sheehan also filed a brief report from the ancient Tiantan, or Temple of Heaven, where numerous signs prohibit writing and photography.
"I will not kowtow to any censors, no matter how many $50 silk suits they try to bribe me with," the daring publisher said as she modeled a charcoal colored, custom-made suit and a $2 People's Army cap. "No matter how many Mongolian hot pots, bean paste delicacies or Thanksgiving dinners of Peking Duck!"
Sheehan fully explored the Temple of Heaven complex, a place of ceremony and ritual for the Ming and Qing emperors. According to her smuggled notes, the emperor arrived at Tiantan every year at the time of the winter solstice to pray to heaven for a good harvest and to honor his ancestors. A magnificent procession through the 675-acre park lasted several days. Built in 1420, many of the ornamental roofs, wooden pillars, and ceilings have been carefully restored. Mythical figures made from porcelain can be found around the walls which were covered in graffiti during China's Cultural Revolution.
Sheehan was in Beijing for more than a week (in late 1997) on a combination business and pleasure trip with Sheehan World technical editor Chuck Dingée. The two helped facilitate a World Game workshop for executives of the Motorola Corp. which has vast operations throughout China.
Dingée, who braved fierce cold at the Great Wall in Badaling and who learned to bargain for souvenirs like a pro, lamented the lack of backgammon games and latté stands in China. "This is an obvious example of the repressive policies of the People's Republic of China," he said as he sipped fine green tea at the Debao Hotel. "I will withhold all "Well Being Units" from the Chinese until they learn to serve proper coffee."
The pair reported they were otherwise well treated by the Chinese on their first visit to mainland China. In addition to scaling the Great Wall and touring Tientan, the adventuresome duo visited several other historic and cultural sites. Among them were:
Please visit The Sheehan World again when our technical editor will post more photos from China.