Beijing, motivated by the 2008 Olympics, has impressively modernizedin the past decade, replacing crumbling infrastructure and architecture, missingstreet lights, grey dirt, and weeds with wide boulevards crowded with late modelcars, ultra-modern bridges, subways, and skyscrapers. Yet, experts say, everythingin China is a trade-off. My focus is on one form of trade-off, the degradation of historicChina. Traveling in China exactly ten years after my first visit gave me opportunitiesto meet with representatives from media, education, and government, andask: how well has China maintained its cultural heritage in the face of rapid modernization?And how important is it for citizens and government to do so? Today’sChina, where “everything new is better,” must be rendered “livable” for growingnumbers of citizens who are part of an ongoing mass internal migration involvingrelocation from rural areas to rapidly burgeoning cities, increasing pressures torepurpose spaces occupied by old structures. This paper presents current problemsrelating to historic preservation, and some perspectives for the future.
China, Cultural Heritage, Modernization, Preservation
How to CiteSafford, L.B., 2014. Cultural Heritage Preservation in Modern China: Problems, Perspectives, and Potentials. ASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts, 21(1), pp.3–15. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/ane.69