All of the tourist guidebooks told us that the May 4th Square was a place we simply had to visit. Situated in Qingdao's central business district, we weren't quite sure why the square was so important. Even after we got there and took some photos, we still didn't quite understand the hype...
We hung around a while longer before heading off to the beach.
After a day spent playing on the beach in the sun, I never actually found out why it was so significant to the local people. It slipped my mind, forgotten and the photos just became holiday snaps that I'd produce for family and friends back home.
At least until today that is. As I was putting together this collection, I went and did a little research.
The square takes its name from the May 4th Movement which was sparked by Article 156 of the Treaty of Versailles. The article transferred German concessions in Shandong province including Qingdao into Japanese hands rather than returning them to China.
This sparked nationwide protests and an upsurge in Chinese nationalism not just because of the anger over handing Chinese territory to the Japanese but because China had entered WWI on the side of the Allies on the condition that, should they prove victorious, all Chinese territories would be returned to China.
As a result of the protests, the Chinese delegation in Versailles chose to not sign the treaty and it wasn't until September 1919 that China declared its war against Germany finished, signing its own treaty in 1921.
If you hadn't noticed, I got rather carried away reading reports and documents related to the movement and having done so, I can fully appreciate why the park would be so important.
Having written this, not only do I have a renewed understanding and appreciation of the square but it also reminds me of how much I don't know and how much more I have to learn!