Subtopia, July 30, 2008
Let me just quickly mention, in what is claimed to be part of an urban beautification plan for the Olympics, Chinese officials in Beijing have taken now to walling off parts of the city that could not be ‘razed and remade’ in time, and where mostly migrant families and poor communities struggle to survive in a shabby commercial part of town that has so far managed to avoid the claw of redevelopment.
The New York Times writes, “along Beijing’s central axis in neighborhoods that have been gutted to make the city look clean and orderly for the Olympics” veils of green plastic netting and 10-foot tall brick walls have essentially become the black markers for an exercise in urban censorship. If Beijing were a book being written for the Olympics, entire chapters have been selectively inked out. But, come on, this is the least bit surprising.