History versus history as China plans to rebuild past
BEIJING (AP) - In a corner of old Beijing, the government may soon be both destroying history and remaking it.
District officials want to re-create a piece of China's glorious dynastic past by rebuilding a square near the Drum and Bell towers in 18th-century Qing Dynasty fashion.
To do it, they will demolish dozens of scuffed courtyard homes that preservationists say have themselves become a part of a cultural history that is fast disappearing as construction transforms the capital.
Because of relatively recent renovation, few of the homes can claim to be more than a few decades old. But they are in crooked alleyways known as "hutongs," which formed around courtyard houses and date back centuries.