Thursday, June 3, 2010

Erasing Chinese Cultural History With Shopping Malls

Over the past decade, Chinese cities such as Beijing and Shanghai rapidly expanded under the new era of capitalist prosperity and American-pioneered architectural styles took hold.

However, in the rush to mimic Western Capitalism, China's own millenia-long cultural heritage is being thrown out by corrupt businessmen and eager construction firms. One man (and a growing number of supporters) is trying to reverse the rampant destruction of centuries-old Chinese architecture throughout the country.

Now He and his volunteers are trying to stop authorities from redeveloping the streets surrounding the Drum and Bell Towers in Beijing, which were used to tell the time from the 13th century Yuan dynasty until the 1920s.
The five-billion-yuan (732-million-dollar) redevelopment project plans to turn the district into a "Beijing Time Cultural City" with shopping malls and car parks.
"The district is very rare in Beijing and even in the country and should be preserved as it is and in its entirety," said He.

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