Every day at sunrise, the raising of the flag on the square perpetuates the symbol of Republican China. This has been so since the proclamation of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949.
Many Chinese tourists come from elsewhere to attend this moving ritual, which takes place before the entrance to the Forbidden City. Tiananmen is said to be one of the largest squares in the world. Refurbished by the Communist Party after it came to power, the square took on a new symbolic dimension with the student protests of 1989. The mausoleum of Mao, steeped in history, dominates the square. The body of the Great Helmsman is displayed there. You may visit but you cannot stop and look closely.
His embalming has been the subject of much speculation among the Chinese and Chinese historians: done quickly in the midst of political crisis, the body, it seems, has not valiantly resisted the onslaught of time.