On June 4, a record number of Chinese law enforcement officials descended on Tiananmen Square for the 25th annual Beijing Policemen’s Ball. The party was so hot they had to keep fire extinguishers at every point of entry.
Street were closed for blocks in either direction to clear space for the break dance competition. Dozens of police vans and ambulances stood at the ready to handle the expected crush of party crashers at what was undoubtedly China’s most exclusive event.
In a club-like atmosphere, attendees shook their automatic rifles like they meant it, getting down to hits from their student days, including “Smack That (Protestor)” and “Hit Me Baby One More Time”.
The amazing spectacle left the Chinese media speechless. Didn’t say one reporter for the English language China Daily, “What event at Tiananmen Square?”
Foreign correspondents, more accustomed to covering actual news, had plenty to say, but were too busy learning the “pop and lock” dance move from security forces to file their stories.
It was a black hoodie optional occassion, with many choosing to simply go plainclothes so as not to attract attention. Explained one attendee, who must remain anonymous because he threatened to revoke a reporter’s press badge when asked for his name, “We try to keep it hush hush so the common people don’t get mad about the Party.”
Ma Huangdou, who was there to witness the inaugural event in 1989, chose instead to spend a quiet evening in his detention cell. When asked to describe what it was like back in the day, he was overcome with emotion and could only say, “Bloody hell.” After that he got too choked up by the guards to continue and had to be whisked away to rest.