Hong Kong Sprawls Into the Ocean

One man's personal quest to save the beauty of Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor from rampant development.
September 4, 2008, 9am PDT | Tim Halbur
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"From the garden of the Chu family's 30th floor penthouse, Hong Kong's jumble of skyscrapers rising against the harbor look like pixie sticks propped in the ground. To a visitor, the scale amazes, but to fifth-generation Hong Konger Winston Chu, it appalls.

And for one reason:"The 'fragrant harbor' – which is what Hong Kong means in Cantonese – is literally disappearing under cement.

Hemmed by dramatic mountains, the city has grown seaward, literally over the water's edge through reclamation. Victoria Harbor has shrunk, it's once-scalloped edges have been straightened into the city-street grid.

'The harbor used to be twice as wide as it is now,' says Mr. Chu. The government has 'been reclaiming [it] bit by bit. There's a Chinese term that translates to a 'silkworm eating a leaf one bite at a time.' But now it's like a tiger. And that tiger is the government.'"

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Published on Wednesday, September 3, 2008 in The Christian Science Monitor
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