chapter  8
Spoliation and conservation
Pages 32

This chapter maps the cultural dimension of urban conservation and examines key conservation projects to reveal how they became part of the urban redevelopment or gentrification process. The urban conservations of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou emphasize the preservation and restoration of the imperial, colonial, and regional heritage sites, respectively. These prerevolutionary heritage sites have been "excavated" from the socialist past and remade into the dead space of monuments or museums, this is just like how Shanghai's revolutionary heritage sites were rediscovered and abstracted from the dense colonial urban fabric. The developer collaborates with socialist land occupiers to plunder public land resources; this is a new spoliation of old Beijing. Party leaders, commercial developers, and rural migrants together destroyed old Beijing, to the dismay of urban-based intellectuals and the cultural elite, including those who had fled overseas before the revolution.