Destruction of neighborhoods and forced relocation are common in the Chinese capital as traditional neighborhoods are rapidly torn apart by well-connected developers erecting gleaming towers. But this area has more political significance than your average neighborhood.
For several generations, it has been a repository of the pain and frustration felt by those who come to Beijing to appeal to national authorities to right perceived wrongs. Large white notices posted in recent days warn residents of the Fengtai district to vacate the area by noon Wednesday to make way for a new road and overpass complex leading to the nearby Southern Railway Station.
The plans have been in the works for a while. But some see secondary motives in the timing, including a desire to scatter the community of “troublemakers” in advance of next month’s Communist Party Congress and to remove an eyesore before the 2008 Summer Olympics. [Full text]