798 demolitions are warnings for us all
Update: See the comments for discussion about the accuracy of the Guardian article relating to the location of the demolitions/incident
The Guardian have reported on a shocking story from Beijing that brings home a certain issue here to the arts community.
Basically, landlords came to parts of 798 and told studio owners that developers were getting the land and they had to evict immediately. The artists, of course said no as they had contracts and leases ranging from 5 to 30 years on the buildings. They wanted to check the details first. Finally, fearing that the buildings may be demolished during the night on Sunday, they stayed over - and a gang of 100 masked men showed up with bats and knives. The photo shows the current situation.
I have recently written about the Expo and Top Floor Circus -
- and one of the big issues in Shanghai regarding the Expo has been accelerated gentrification and demolitions. The band brought the song in question back partly as a reaction to the forcing out of 0093 studios.
Let this story be a reminder, again, to those of us writing about the Expo and related issues, who also claim to support the arts here. There is a wider context and many issues. It is irresponsible and dangerous to report it while ignoring the negatives. Shame on anyone who is buying the hype and enthusiastically backing the brand.
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