|Most residents haven't taken the government compensation packages and moved out yet, as evidenced by this bird cage still hanging in a hutong near the Bell Tower. Photo: Li Hao/GT |
Key Words:Hutong; Drum and Bell tower; Beijing
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The neighborhood of Gulou, home to the Drum and Bell towers in Dongcheng district, remains about the same as it was two months ago, when the local government announced its plans to demolish the first batch of 66 dilapidated courtyards for a larger square.
The noticeable differences are that a few households, coffee shops and souvenir outposts have been emptied and sealed off with stamped government seals and Baodu Ren, the popular shop for the Beijing snack of soiled pork tripe, has been knocked down.
"If you go and count the lights in the households when it gets darker, you'll know how few have actually moved out," said a resident living in Tongluowan Hutong 64, which is among the 136 households ordered to move out.
February 24 was the last day for the residents to be awarded with an apartment at a cheaper price of 7,000 yuan ($1,125) per square meter in the Shaoyaoju neighborhood in Chaoyang district. However, according to the local government, only 85 households accepted the offer by that deadline. The majority are taking a wait-and-see attitude in the hopes of receiving a better compensation plan from the government.
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