Echoes of history and rapid change

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The Berlin Wall at the East Side Gallery, featuring graffiti of Checkpoint Charlie and the famous My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love painting. MEI JIA/CHINA DAILY

Walking along Karl Marx Alley in Berlin, a first-time visitor to the city from Beijing may feel a strange sense of familiarity. The buildings, built in Soviet style but with modern facades and the broad roads clearly remind one of Beijing's streets and its architecture.

Before we enter the alley, we are told that it is now the center of a community that accommodates an affluent neighborhood.

As we visit German writer Holm Friebe at his apartment on that street, we see a music parade.

Standing by the window of his book-loaded apartment, and watching the parade, Friebe says: "Isn't it a good view?"

He adds that from his vantage point he can see the changes the city is going through.

People say that there are not many European cities that are undergoing the scale of construction or changes that Berlin has seen since the 1990s, after the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.

Friebe is now in the news for a game, which he writes about in his latest book Mimikry, about the Berlin literary scene. Players are invited to write paragraphs for a book, which are then mixed with the original writing. Then, players have to pick out the original writing.

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