China: Demolishing Its Physical Past

As the government and real estate developers continue to demolish China's ancient walled cities at an alarming rate, conservationists and residents are left to pick up the pieces.
April 6, 2004, 1pm PDT | Connie Chung
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"Fifty years ago...China had 300 walled cities. Now only four are left....Of China's 2,000 historic cities, only 100 have survived, and of these...only about 20 have been preserved in anything like their original state." Academics, conservationists and residents have reached out to local governments "to protect their old buildings in the midst of real estate frenzy which has enabled some property developers to become billionaires." Instead, local governments in China, such as Zhouzhuang, are choosing to demolish remnants of the past, and put replicas of old buildings in their place, along with shops and restaurants, and other attractions that would draw in tourists.

Thanks to Connie Chung

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Published on Friday, April 2, 2004 in The Independent
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