Having been in China for more than a decade, this is the first time I feel that the country has broken my heart. And it’s not some interpersonal love thing but just a feeling of some people in charge not doing right by the people here. While I have heard lots and lots of stories from Chinese friends complaining about their leaders, I never really gave it much thought as, as a foreigner, I never was really affected by any of it too much. Even ever changing visa regulations could not diminish my love for the country as getting a visa for anywhere is a big pain in the behind. But for some reason this one little thing hit me hard – which is very surprising to me.
What are you talking about?
I recently moved back to my old hutong home after having been away from it for about a year. Probably all would agree that the old hutongs are indeed one of the things that make Beijing Beijing (among them the Prince of Wales) and must be preserved. However, how to preserve them seems to be where opinions differ.
Let me quickly explain what my hutong life used to be like: Apart from being very hot in summer and very cold in winter and thanking the gods and my landlord every day for having installed a bathroom, it was just awesome. When I stepped out of the door, I would turn right to literally walk 30 second