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This post was edited by vivy1109 at 2015-2-9 14:35|
Xuanwumen, located in Beijing's southwest, has always been a cultural melting pot. It has the city's oldest Catholic church, the first women's teaching university and was home to China's first congress. The hutong of Xuanwumen hold Beijing's cultural roots.
But with Beijing's rapid development, many hutong are being knocked down to make room for high-rise buildings.
Local residents say the demolition and relocation process started in 2009 and has yet to run its course.
Some residents have already moved out, and their homes have been demolished. The rest continue to stay because they have failed to reach an agreement with property developers.
Broken brick tile lies on both sides of the hutong. Nobody has come to clean up. Discarded sofas, broken chairs, and old bicycles are scattered about. Stray cats and dogs run through the ruins. Big signs with the character for "demolish" adorn many walls. The residents are living in the ruins of demolition, becoming a shantytown in one of the city's most prosperous areas.
However, cheap rents are reforging the mix of cultures for which the area is known. Migrant workers from Heilongjiang, Jilin, Henan, Anhui and other provinces are working and living here. They have set up garbage collecting stations, opened restaurants and bicycle repair shops.
"Anyhow, living here is better than living in rural areas," one migrant worker said.
The new migrants are bringing a liveliness and cultural diversity to neglected hutong waiting for the wrecking ball.
The old hutong of Xuanwumen, in Beijing's southwest. These hutong are scheduled to be demolished. Because of cheap rents, many migrants live and work here.
A national flag hangs on a home to deter forced demolitions.
Migrants open restaurants in the hutong.
A family's quilts hang across the ruins of demolished buildings.