Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Impressions from China - Demolition Derby

There is a whole lot of 拆-ing going on (chai - demolition).

Next on the radar of the blood-thirsty developers in Beijing is an area around Gulou (Drum Tower) where hutong-style buildings & structures still stand. Many that line the streets of Gulou Jie (Drum Tower street) are music stores selling various kinds of instruments. It's a popular mecca for musicians looking for supplies. It is also home to Mao Live, a popular venue for live music, but was recently closed for "fire safety violations"...or so they say.

Even the area around where we live, in the north-eastern suburban area of Beijing, has not been spared the encroaching bulldozers. Acres of rubble & flat vacant land now stands where there used to be villages & single story buildings surrounding the new metro line that is being completed now, which will eventually urbanize the once-rural landscape.

I am all for progress & improvement of living standards.

But when the old is so completely wiped out in this way, with no effort to preserve the heritage & old way of life, well, it's just sad.

Unfortunately, I think that this trend is not going to stop anytime soon. With the Chinese hunger for the almighty dollar (or the yuan in this case), any thought of preservation will likely fall to the wayside. Heck, the track record of how unethical they can be all in the name of making a buck speaks for itself.

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