Human Rights Skyscraper in Beijing

Human Rights Skyscraper

This is a concept for a new skyscraper development in Beijing. It’s not intended for construction – it’s just the idea itself that is intended to challenge attitudes towards property and people in China.

Take a closer look at it and you’ll see that it’s just a structure within which are built actual houses.

Though private property doesn’t really exist in China (and buying a property only ensures its use for 70 years), the designers of this structure feel that land use needs to be reexamined in China, as a private home is a basic human right. Their proposal to bring every person a place to live takes into account the country’s exploding population and need for dense development, and thus is oriented vertically. Inspired by the Chinese character 田 the traditional siheyuan residence and ancient Chinese urban planning, these designers have dreamed up a giant reinforced concrete structure that serves more as infrastructure than a building. It is “land” for housing, instead of the housing itself – a 3-D checkerboard that houses units within each cell. The structure is the same length as the Forbidden City, and is located directly to the east of it.”

(Read more at Human Rights Skyscraper in Beijing – eVolo | Architecture Magazine.)

Chinese developers demolish home of revered architects


Beijing Neighbourhood

The Guardian carries a report of some recent demolition work in Beijing, this time of the former home of one of the people who campaigned against the destruction of the city’s historic architecture.

Their appreciation of China’s ancient buildings and their devotion to preserving its heritage made them two of the country’s most revered architects.

But now the home in Beijing where Liang Sicheng and his wife Lin Huiyin once worked lies in rubble – having fallen prey to the development they feared would destroy their city’s ancient streets.

Liang Cheng

The demolition has horrified heritage experts. Liang is known as the father of modern Chinese architecture, and much of his and Lin’s most important work was carried out while they were living in the courtyard house in Beizongbu Hutong in the 1930s.

It was knocked down by developers over the lunar New Year, despite the fact it is rare for labourers to work during the festival, raising suspicions that the company hoped to avoid publicity.


(Read more at Chinese developers demolish home of revered architects | World news |

Liang Cheng. Photograph: Al Fenn/Time & Life Pictures/Getty

BBC News – Beijing releases air pollution data

Authorities in the Chinese capital Beijing have started releasing more detailed data on air quality.

It comes in response to public criticism of levels of pollution and official openness about measuring it.

Beijing previously released levels of air-borne PM10 – particles more that 10 microns across.

But officials on Saturday released data for PM2.5, smaller particles which can penetrate deep into the lungs and are seen as better indicators of pollution.

An online campaign calling for reform of the monitoring system in Beijing was launched last year, and received widespread support.

More here: BBC News – Beijing releases air pollution data.

Mad About English (我为英语狂)

Trailer for the 2008 documentary Mad About English (which I can’t find anywhere…)

Have you ever seen 10,000 students learning English from one teacher – all at the same time? Have you ever met a detective whose mission impossible is to arrest bad grammar? Or encountered a 74 year-old retiree who thinks nothing of ambushing foreigners on the streets just so he can practice his English? Or heard a Chinese policeman speak English in a New York Bronx accent?

If you haven’t, catch Mad About English! – the amazing story of 1,000,000,000 people and their MAD MAD MAD rush to learn English! As the clock ticks down to next month’s Olympics, China ‘s love affair with the English language has reached feverish proportions. With half a million or more visitors descending on Beijing for the Games, can the Chinese pull it off with their newly-acquired English? Mad About English! follows the inspiring and heart-warming efforts of a city preparing to host the world by learning a once-forbidden tongue.

Nostalgia for old-style Chinese stores

The BBC reports on a resurgence in nostalgia for Communist-era goods and shops in China:

In the Village, an up-market shopping complex in Beijing, China’s newly rich shoppers jostle to buy expensive foreign brands.

With its steel and glass buildings, the centre has become a monument to China’s vision of a materialistic future.

But shoppers have not always had such a wide choice of products.

Just a few decades ago most non-food items had to be bought in traditional department stores, selling cheap Chinese-made goods.

Many people have now deserted them for a more glitzy shopping experience.

But some stores remain and have even seen an increase in interest over recent years from people looking to buy a little bit of the past.

As China changes rapidly, there is nostalgia for a bygone communist era that is quickly being swept away.

Continue reading at BBC News – Nostalgia for old-style Chinese stores.