Facing change

Updated: 2013-09-11 00:37

By Chen Nan (China Daily)

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Facing change

Rickshaw men wait for customers at the Shichahai area.

The core issue for restoration is to respect people living there, says He Shuzhong, founder of Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center, an NGO based in Beijing.

"You should give the people confidence and stability," he says. "What's the value of history? I think it's all about the people and their stories."

Facing change

Residents nervous

Residents are concerned about the project. Since May, people have posted thousands of comments on the official weibo of the Xicheng government. Some worry that the Shichahai area will be the next Nanluoguxiang, a former hutong area that's become a commercial market. Some are practical, fearing that even with compensation they can't afford an apartment in the city's skyrocketing housing market. Others are simply attached to their homes.

"My son works nearby and my grandson goes to school nearby. Supermarkets, parks and hospitals are not far, which is very convenient," says Ma. "We don't want our lives to be disturbed."