Beijing’s hutongs are disappearing at an alarming rate, replaced by luxury malls, office buildings and apartment complexes. And while the loss of these historic neighborhoods are mourned by some, and no doubt their disappearance also takes with them a way of life, they are old and crumbling–substandard housing we would call them in the USA.
This hutong is southeast of Tianenmen and I headed there after watching the flag lowering ceremony in the square. It was dark by the time I found it and there was minimal light on most of the narrow alleys. I was looking for a way out of the neighborhood when I noticed a red glow a couple of blocks to my south, so I worked my way toward it and discovered this lone sign advertising the location of a traditional Peking Duck restaurant. A literal red light district.
Just about a mile northwest of this spot the National People’s Congress is convening on Wednesday for a 10 day meeting; according to news reports, 80 of the politically connected representatives in attendance are billionaires. With a ‘B’