“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

Vandalism in Beijing – “Soul Removers”

Posted: February 5th, 2012 | 2 Comments »

I cannot bring myself to write too much about the destruction at Chinese New Year of Liang Sicheng’s house. Liang (below) was an incredible architect famously offered a plan that would have held intact the ancient city of Peking. But no, Mao rejected it and we got the architectural destruction and horror of the Mao years and then the rampant philistine culture of the last 30 years. The destruction of the property also revealed, once again, that buildings supposedly under preservation orders still get regularly bulldozed (in Shanghai too) – if a government-linked property developer is involved then none of it means anything – if another apologistic foreigner in China tells me that the government is serious about heritage and preservation and points to these preservation orders I swear I will stab them! I obviously expect no more from rapacious, philistine and corrupt communist officials – that one said not to worry as they’ll build a replica just shows how ridiculous things are. “Soul removers” one Chinese preservationist called these vandal government-developers – absolutely correct.

So obviously I’m fuming – so here are some links from more balanced and clear headed people:

New York Times

Guardian

Bloomberg

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2 Comments on “Vandalism in Beijing – “Soul Removers””

  1. 1 Chris said at 12:49 am on February 5th, 2012:

    Allegedly bulldozed for safety reasons during CNY, so that fireworks wouldn’t destroy it.

    Here’s a photo of the ruins: http://www.flickr.com/photos/elephantonabicycle/6781147711/in/photostream

  2. 2 Mike check said at 9:00 pm on February 8th, 2012:

    No legacy, no man, no proof that there were and maybe still are people with the vision to keep the good stuff from the past. Just went to Hanoi and was impressed at how much of that old capital is still well taken care of. That might still change, but it looks more likely that poor Vietnam at least still hasn’t sold it’s soul like its monotonized/homogenized/poorly developed northern neighbor. At least for now.


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