The Beijing Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage has
recently appealed to related departments to prevent a property
developer from demolishing Dongsi Batiao, an ancient Hutong in
The demolition was planned to begin in Monday.
During an interview with the Beijing Times, a staff member from
the Beijing Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage said that
the administration had written recently to the real estate
developer, calling for protection of buildings in the alley.
However, the administration does not have the final say on these
matters, the official said.
The Batiao, located in the Dongcheng District, was built about
700 years ago during the Yuan Dynasty. It was listed as a cultural
protection area by the municipal government in 1999.
According to the regulation issued by the municipal government
on the cultural relic protection, demolition is strictly forbidden
in the old hutongs.
According to the paper, the housing administration of Dongcheng
District published an announcement in February on the demolition of
the hutong, to clear way for a complex construction covering an
80,000-square-meter area between Batiao and nearby Jiutiao.
It's reported the project will bring a net profit of 190 million
The authority put up another notice on April 15, requiring
residents there to move out before May 26.
Liu Qifei, an archaeologist and a member of the Beijing
Committee of CPPCC, China's advisory body, also appealed to the
municipal government in late April, to stop the project and to
penalize the departments in charge.
She said the project will further damage the city's image as an
old capital city abundant in cultural relics. Only a few original
hutongs are well preserved today.
Beijing's historic layout, which dates back several hundred
years ago, typically consists of small, narrow "hutongs" that run,
maze-like, through the centre of the city. Residents in hutongs
usually live in "siheyuan", traditional Chinese quadrangle-yard
These hutongs and siheyuan provide a direct link to China's much
venerated past. However, they have been vanishing in the dust of
Beijing's continuous city construction in recent years.
(CRI.cn May 15, 2007)