Less than four months before the Summer Games open, the forced relocations in Beijing are highlighting another cost of the Olympics, as residents make way for such architectural glories as the National Stadium, known as the bird’s nest, and the apartment and office towers springing up nearby. Whole neighborhoods have been wiped out. Especially controversial has been the destruction of about 800 of the city’s 1,200 hutongs, lanes full of traditional, courtyard-style houses.
Beijing real estate prices are soaring, but residents are often blocked from realizing the full value of their homes when the government orders them out. Many complain that compensation levels set by authorities are far below market rates, making it impossible for them to find comparable housing elsewhere.