The long march – Hamish McDonald

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

WHEN Margaret Jones, the first Herald correspondent to be assigned to , moved into a 15-storey apartment block in central in 1974, the yellow-and-white building was the acme of modernity in the Chinese capital.

The ’s first high-rise built to earthquake-proof standards, it and another matching tower in the Qijiayuan Diplomatic Compound stood over a smoky cityscape of low tenements and single-storey housing around labyrinthine networks of hutong (laneways), its residents kept from contaminating the population byguards and spies.

Now, the Qijiayuan towers are examples of post-revolutionary , quaint enough to feature in the Alors la Chine exhibition held in the Pompidou Centre in Paris several years ago.

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