Beijing Welcomes You
Unveiling the Capital City of the FutureBook - 2011
A FASCINATING INSIDE LOOK AT THE ENIGMATIC CAPITAL OF THE FUTURE-BEIJING, CHINA
Can an ancient city rule the twenty-first century? The People's Republic of China is ascendant as a global power, and Beijing is the seat and the symbol of Chinese culture and Chinese might. For centuries, Beijing was closed off to the world, turned inward and literally built around the imperial Forbidden City, the emblem of all that was unknowable about China. But now the capital is reinventing itself to reflect China's global influence, its progress and prosperity. When Tom Scocca arrived in 2004, an American curious about encountering a new country, he found Beijing officially eager to greet him-rebuilding itself to host the Olympics in 2008, by which time the modernized megalopolis meant to be a shining and (relatively) open gateway to the world.
Scocca discovered a city with avant-garde towers and the rubble of ancient neighborhoods, a city bedecked with friendly cartoon mascots and monitored by a wary public security force-a city bold enough to try to control the weather, and insecure enough to arrest old ladies who applied to protest the government. Moving behind the scenes and in front of them, he talked to weather-changing scientists; interviewed designers and architects and media handlers; documented the planting of trees, the rerouting of traffic, the demolition of the old city, and the construction of a new metropolis. At the same time, he was one more inhabitant in a city of 22 million, and when his son was born there, Beijing became more daunting and more intimate.
Beijing Welcomes You is a broad yet close record of an urban place we don't yet fully comprehend, and of the superpower it is essential we get to know better.