fredag 9. november 2018

Historic Preservation or Just Ripping Out a Way of Life in Beijing?

Beijing’s latest urban preservation campaign swung like a wrecking ball this summer through the colorful shops along Yonghegong Street, a tree-lined road between two of the city’s landmarks: the Confucius and Lama Temples. Workers wielding crowbars, jackhammers and written orders from the city knocked out tiled eaves and wooden columns decorated with red lanterns and Tibetan prayer flags. Then they bricked up and painted over spaces that had once been doors or windows.

Yuan Hong, who a decade ago opened a hair salon on one of the distinctive alleyways known as hutongs not far from Yonghegong, showed up there early one morning recently to find workers knocking out her glass storefront. “Can you wait for me to get my face washed first?” she said she implored the workers. “Can you slow down a little bit?”