The downside of Guangzhou Asian Games

It reminds me of Beijing Olympics. Before the event buildings and places of historical value were demolished. There are numerous news about that in the online newspapers and you might me interested to read some of them: The New York Times and The Times.

And to be fair there is a piece of news from the other point of view: Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Right now Guangzhou is getting ready for the Asian Games just a few months away. Renovation of all kinds is taking place as we speak. In the university island, where I live, they have built walls to surround the villages. In the picture they had just started but now the walls have been finished. But what is the reason to built these walls?

What I think

Next to my village Nanting there is a one stadium where some competitions will take place but there is also a wall around another village which is far away from the games. So one reason comes to my mind. They want to hide the villages from the visitors’ eyes.

Good thing is that the villages have become more cleaner and buildings have been improved. But lots of restaurants had to close their doors and make room for new ones. At leas one building in Nanting was demolished and the villages were strongly against it. I think the walls were made to hide, but isn’t it always interesting what is behind it? And I am worried will these walls still stand there after the games. And is there still more negative consequences coming?

What Chinese think about this

I wanted to have a Chinese perspective to this issue so I asked my Chinese friend. He just laughed like Chinese do when they don’t know what to say and dropped the conversation. After that I decided to ask them anonymously over the Internet and got six replies.

They are all students in their twenties and five of them will work for the games and the last one would like to but can’t.  All of them think that it is beneficial for Guangzhou to host the Asian Games and it’s a chance to develop the city. On the disadvantages side only one of the respondent took a critical view:

“in fact ,here the city planning is not very good in itself ,the governmen take some inappropriate actions almost are disposable and they just cure the symptoms, not the disease, which is a waste of resources and time”

When I asked is it acceptable to have the walls around the villages three of them said yes, two of them no and one of them absolutely no.

Yes to the walls:

  • “It is acceptable,as we know, security is of great important”
  • “It’s useful to make the environment cleaner and more tidy.”
  • “maybe it is the best way to prepare for the Asian Games ,because it is totally muddledness in Nanting and Beiting,which is hard to renovate in short order,the other advantage is that it not only protect the people who live in Nanting and Beiting but us who want to go there for buying, from the noise and the dust given by the vehicles,it is more safe”*

No to the walls:

  • “yeah,I saw it.I don’t think it is good to do this.I think the reason why they did this was to cover the shabby house. It is the so called image project.”
  • “i don’t like it,it just scratches the surface,and they are make of iron and steel ,here is in subtropical zone and it is hot,especially at noon ,the walls will increase the temperature ,which let people feel worse”*
  • “i hate they did it this! It is not necessary! Just for the face! so badly!!!!!!!!!”
  • “i think it is not only waste of money,but obstruct people to know more about the village,about the environment”

One of the respondents had arguments both agreeing and disagreeing the building of the walls. His answers are marked by *.

Conclusion

The image and the face of the city is important to Guangzhou. I am sure there are lots of positive sides with all the renovation and improving. For example there are new subway lines coming soon and it will improve the public transportation.

But why they fail to keep it all positive? Why to try to hide some interesting parts of the city like the villages? Have there been more demolition in the other sides of the city? How everything will work during the Asian Games?

One funny consequence to the games is that bars close earlier than before. At least that is one anonymous Chinese answer when my fellow exchange students asked why Babyface (a bar) will turn lights on at two o’clock. (When the customers surely could keep dancing until the morning.)

  • Cheers for posting this. I had heard about the Chinese doing this to cover up old buildings but never heard a first hand account. What do they put on the walls? promotional material/adverts for the games?

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  • Sara

    Thank you for commenting Dave. And yes, the walls are covered with huges photos that are supposed to show how beautiful the University Island is and promoting the games. I can take a new picture of the wall later so you can see.

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  • Yeah, thanks, please take a photo so we can see what they look like covered.

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  • laurence

    Haven’t been down to the Island for a while. I’ll have to take a look at this. Thanks for posting!

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  • Sara

    Dave, I will.

    Laurance, Thank you for commenting. Welcome to visit the island.

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