28 June 2006
The Mayor of London and former MP for Henley Boris JohnsonIn 2006 the CMC arranged Boris Johnson MP's first trip to China, when he was Conservative Higher Education Spokesman. He and the Director of CMC travelled together to Shanghai and Peking where they were filmed by BBC Newsnight.
Steam-rollering into the future
Spectator, Wednesday, 28th June 2006
Youd better hurry if you want to see any of old Beijing. The lovely higgledy-piggledy brick hutongs are being blitzed in readiness for the 2008 Olympics. Even in the Hou Hai district, supposedly one of the last zones of ancient tranquillity, the imperial lakes are fringed with trashy bars and ugly black sound systems spilling on to the pavement.
Not far away tourists are taken to inspect the old codgers playing chess and mah-jong, surrounded by caged birds. The oldsters like to look at the birdies, the tourist will be told in a whisper. It was one of the simple pleasures that Mao destroyed. The dictator took it into his head that it was an act of bourgeois decadence even to admire birdsong or plumage. So children went around banging tin trays and the birds were driven from the trees.