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« The De (Te) - 德 - of Acting | Main | Big Questions Online »

July 21, 2010


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As one put it, a renovated Beijing is becoming a Universal Studio. Shame.

Per Michael Meyer's book on the destruction of the hutongs, I had understood this to be a process that was very much driven from the top down, not from local residents demanding better places to live. Meyers seemed to have less trouble than Andrew Jacobs in finding outraged residents as well. Do you think this has changed? Or are we looking at different perceptions from different viewers?

I agree that it is being driven from the top down. My point was that those doing the driving will always bring forth a few local people who say new housing will be better. But more is lost in these sorts of mega-developments....

Not even the Chinese Academy of Sciences is safe! Via a post in my Sina Weibo feed that seems to have since disappeared, I came across this notice: protesting the forceful destruction of CAS' Institute of Mechanics' Huairou base, including the destruction of several historic labs, some in which Qian Xuesen worked after he came back from America.

I see both sides of the argument over the destruction of the hutongs. Yes, life there is pretty basic, infrastructure desperately lacking, and the buildings rundown, even dangerous. And yet so much community, culture and history is lost. If only a happy compromise could be found.... Oh, right, Sam mentioned it: "a more organic, grass-roots process". You're absolutely right, sir. The only downside is it would take a lot more time and effort, and would be much messier. But some things are worth the extra trouble.

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