Beijing's 'Conservation' Plans Bend Definition

Beijing is in the midst of a wide-scale revitalization effort to prepare itself for the 2008 Olympic games. Included in this effort is a citywide conservation plan targeting 25 areas in the city. But the term "conservation" is loosely defined.

"The conservation plan was announced six years ago by the city Government's communist rulers, naturally without public consultation. It is now reaching its demolition climax, involving the relocation of thousands."

"The most controversial of these conservation areas is the ancient trading, artistic and hospitality heart of Beijing: Qianmen or front gate, which dates back 600 years through the Qing and Ming dynasties."

"On November 26 the Chongwen district Government, losing patience with the many residents who refused to accept relocation offers and desperate to make a start on plans to rebuild the area before the Olympics, issued a warning that 50 days later - starting this week - it will deploy the demolition squads."

Full Story: Olympic vandalism

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