A Long Walk across an Expanding Beijing
01.07.2021 - By Barbarians at the Gate
This week, Barbarians at the Gate offers another Beijing-themed podcast. Jeremiah and David talk with writer and long-time Beijing resident Jonathan Chatwin, author of the widely-acclaimed book Long Peace Street. The book is Jonathan's account of a two-day walk along Beijing's Chang'anjie (literally "Long Peace Street"), a trek of 30 kilometers traversing the capital from west to east, representing a "geographical core sample" of Beijing's history, politics, culture, architecture, and urban development. Jonathan walks us (pun intended) through some of the familiar sites of the Chinese capital, unearthing little-known historical details and recounting the ongoing tension between preserving the city's traditional landmarks and constructing a 21st-century urban space. Our discussion also touches on the Chinese government's bold "Jing-Jin-Ji" project to expand Beijing municipality into a megacity of nearly 130 million people.