Goodbye History, Hello Olympics

In the rush to prepare for the 2008 Olympics, Beijing demolishes its historical sites to make way for modern development.
January 5, 2004, 11am PST | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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"With a real-estate boom gaining momentum and the 2008 Olympics approaching, Beijing is rapidly tearing down its famed hutongs — the narrow alleys filled with courtyard houses that are 100 to 400 years old...Even when buildings are designated as historic sites, they can be knocked down in the frenzy of development...The new symbols of Beijing are the apartment skyscraper, the glass-walled office tower and the luxury shopping mall. Authorities are spending $22-billion (U.S.) to transform the city in time for 2008, when it will host the Summer Games...Even when buildings are designated as historic sites, they can be knocked down in the frenzy of development. Local officials often collude with private developers or accept bribes. Part of a 680-year-old Taoist temple was recently demolished to make room for a financial district in Beijing, even though it was listed as one of China's most important cultural sites."

Thanks to Grigorii Boyko-Vekin

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Published on Monday, October 24, 2005 in The Globe and Mail
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