Beijing Change

Beijing in 1947

Beijing has changed tremendously since Ukranian Dmitri Kessel took this picture in 1947.

After one year of living in China, there is one word I associate with this country: change. Changes happen here at a speed and on a scale that is unknown to Europe. That is not to say that changes are not carefully planned, yet things can literally change overnight here. For example, a shop that is open one day has disappeared the next.

This week I saw pictures of Beijing in 1947. So much has changed in the streets of this city. Ten years ago, or even three years ago things looked very different. Most of the CDB landmark office and popular expat compounds were not yet built, nor was Sanlitun Village or Soho. A visit to the Beijing Urban Planning Hall shows that more changes are ahead. Luckily, the government is now protecting some hutongs, where you can still feel the spirit of old Beijing. Sometimes I pass a lao Beijingren in the street and think about what this little old man or lady has seen and experienced. I can only begin to imagine, but these pictures give an impression of what their world was like.