Destruction works continuing: Remodelling Shanghai for Expo 2010
The third phrase in my Business Chinese text book is Shanghai has changed considerably (上海的变化真大啊！shànghǎi de biànhuà zhēn dà ā), said from the CEO of an international company coming after some years to Shanghai for a business trip (出差 chūchāi). Well, I have been living in shànghǎi half a year now and I can prove that this city is undergoing incredible changes, overnightly.
Since years now the city is a building site, with hundreds of skyskrapers in construction (in 2020 Shanghai should become the world finance center…). Surely the biggest wave of destruction and reconstruction activities has been urged from the fact that Shanghai will host the World Expo in 2010 and that one of the leading theme will be Urban-Atonomy with special sections dedicated to the progresses of the human being in developing cities. China will even have a separate pavillon dedicated to Chinese wisdom in Urban development. Of course putting the eye on one of the major problems that Shanghai had during centuries – the urban development – the government is urged to give the entire city (and not only privileged island in it) the appearance of a city in which it is worth living. Since 2008 entire districts 地区 dìqū, made of old unhealthy houses, have disappeared, are disappearing or are going to disappear, to leave place for humanised living blocks and commercial skyskrapers. All this is surely very good, nevertheless I am not sure if they will be inhabitated from the people that have lived there their lives or from expatriates or rich Chinese. My language teacher told me that the people will be moved away and will be offered some money to buy a property outside of the city, sometimes in remote Chinese areas.
This city is very polluted. The water is contaminated, rats are infesting the city, everywhere is dirty and smelly (even supermarkets). I have read a report in the China Daily today, that in the majiority of the city’s offices there are rats… Try to imagine how in slums will be. In the television a couple of days ago Chinese were happy to show the electric system they have installed all around a „model unit“ to electrify the rats that are sometimes big as cats.
But let’s think further, we have to stand up (起来 qǐlái, as the Chinese hymne encouragingly sings), we have to build the tallest building on earth in the muds of Pudong (one day one of the exit in Pudong had to be shut down as there was mud coming out of the metro line). And everything goes under the motto of Better City Better Life and the Expo Mascot, the Haibao (which means treasures of the sea) represents a clean ocean drop, which should stand for life.
How are they going to manage the 70 million tourists if you have now some problems to get a metro, a bus or a taxi in the rush hours? And I am still waking up in the middle of the night due to the noise of the trucks that are carrying the destroyed parts of the city in remote places.