The Baltimore Sun from Baltimore, Maryland on February 2, 2002 · Page A12
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The Baltimore Sun from Baltimore, Maryland · Page A12

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Saturday, February 2, 2002
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Page12 A: Saturday,February2,2002:TheSun TheWorld CitymapexhibitasignofchangeinChina [ China,fromPage1 A ] Center,officialssaytheyaretrying tobemoreopen,thustheircom- puterizedmap. “Wewanttogetmoreandmore publiccommentandfeedback,” saidHuangYan,37,adeputydi- rectorinthecityplanningoffice. “Thisisakindofprogress.” Visitinghours Themuseumisthefirstofits kindinthecity.Itprovidesamix- tureofurbanhistoryandgovern- mentpropaganda,designedtosell residentsontheregime’svisionfor makingBeijingamoderncapital. Whilemostmuseumswantto attractcrowds,thisoneisdiffer- ent.Itgenerallyacceptsgroups Fridayafternoonsbyappointment onlybecause,officialssay,therest ofthebuildingisoccupiedbygov- ernmentoffices. Individualscanvisitonweek- endsonlyfrom9a.m.to4p.m. ManyBeijingers,though,still don’tknowtheexhibitexists. Whenaforeignerarrivedatthe museumrecently,anofficial stoppedhimatthefrontgateand thenradioedinside.“It’saregula- tion,”themansaid. Afewminuteslater,another manemergedfromthebuilding. “Whatisyourbusinesshere?”he asked.Whentheforeignersaidhe wantedtoseetheexhibit,theman obliged. ThemuseumopenedinOcto- ber.Inthefirsttwoweeks,itdrew 16,000people,whichsurprisedand perhapsalarmedsomeofficials. “Wedidn’texpectsomanypeo- plewouldbeinterestedinit,”said Huang,whospeaksEnglishand hasstudiedurbanplanninginEu- ropeandtheUnitedStates.“We askedthereportersnottowrite toomuch.” Appearingoutdated Theexhibit’sbiggestattraction isascalemodelofthecity,cover- inganareaabouthalfthesizeofa tenniscourt.Peoplecrowdaround asaguideusesalaserlighttopoint outlandmarkssuchastheForbid- denCityandsitesfornewcon- struction,includingtheultra-mod- ernsportscomplexforthe2008 OlympicSummerGames. Themodelprovidesararevan- tagepointforpeoplewantinga senseofBeijing,acityof13million thatsprawlslikeLosAngelesand suffersfromevenworsesmog. Whilethemodelappearstobe new,itsrenderingofthecityisal- readyyearsout-of-date. Beijing’scitycenterappearsas itoncedid,largelyaseaofgraytile roofsontopoftraditionalgray brickhomes.Manyofthehouses, however,havebeendemolishedto makewayforofficeandcommer- cialbuildings. Onerecentday,GuPinglu,are- tiredstateworker,stoodatthe edgeofthemodelandtriedtofind hishomeon“InternalAffairs Street”intheeasternpartoftown. Gu,whoisinhis70s,plansto spendfivemonthsinCanadathis year,visitinghisdaughter. Hewantedtoknowifhishome willstillbeherewhenhereturns. Developersarevariouslysaid tohaveplanstotearuppartofthe neighborhoodtobuildeight-story apartmenthousesormodern courtyardhomes. “Ijustwanttoknowtheplan,” saidGu,whoworeclothbootsand acharcoalgraycap. ‘Originallookprotection’ Afterlookingoverthemodel, Gucheckedagiantbacklitplan- ningmap.Thenamuseumem- ployeehelpedhimlocatehisneigh- borhoodonthecomputer. Color-codingindicatedthatthe sectionwherehelivesisdesig- natedan“originallookprotection area”until2010.Itiszonedfor buildingsnohigherthan18feet. Guwasoptimistichishomewould survivetheyear. Inadditiontoelderlypeople concernedabouttheirhomes,the museumdrawsdevelopers,inves- torsandmembersofthecity’s young,emergingmiddleclasswho wanttoknowmoreaboutanarea beforebuyinganapartment.Many saytheywishthecenterprovided moredetailedinformation. Theexhibitdevotesjustasmall spacetowhatmighthavebeen. AftertheCommuniststook overBeijingin1949,aprofessor namedLiangSichengrecom- mendedbuildingthegovernment’s newadministrativecenterinthe westernsuburbstopreservethe ancientcityanditslowskyline. Hisplanfailedinpartbecause Chinawasdesperatelypooratthe timeandhadlittlemoneyfornew construction.Officialsalsowanted totakeadvantageofthecentral city’simperialgrandeur. Thedecisiontobuildinsidethe oldcity—astepthatmanyarchi- tectsnowconsiderdisastrous— setthestagefordecadesofhodge- podgeurbanplanningandwide- spreaddestruction,includingthe demolitionofthecitywall. Duringthe1990s,therapid paceofredevelopmenttrans- formedtheskylineintoanuneven bargraphofglassandsteelhigh- rises,somewithpointyroofsre- semblingChinesestrawhats. Theenormousface-lifthas beenparticularlyhardonlong- termresidents,whoareusually givenonlythemostmeagerinfor- mationabouttheirfate.Officials anddevelopersoftendelayreveal- ingthedatesfordestructionto preventneighborsfromorganizing opposition. HuangYan,thedeputyplan- ningdirector,saysthecityistrying toimprovetheprocess.Shesaid thegovernmentnowrequiresde- veloperstopostplansatconstruc- tionsites,andofficialsarebegin- ningtomeetresidentstoexplain thechangesinneighborhoods. Beijing’sstate-controlledme- diausuallyportraystheseencoun- tersinglowingterms.Someresi- dentstelladifferentstory. Afterthegovernmentdemol- isheddilapidatedhomesnear BlackDragonPoolParkinsouth- eastBeijingin2000,itbuiltan apartmentcomplex. Residentsmovedbackinto housesfarbetterthantheones thathadbeendestroyed,butretir- eescouldnotaffordtheexorbitant heatingcosts.Someresidentsnow spendwinterdaysindoors, wrappedincoatsandsweaters. China’sstate-runmediahas describedlifeintheapartmentsas “heaven.” “It’shell,”saidZhangXiwen,70, aretiredstatemachineryworker whocarrieshispetcricketsinside hiscoattokeepthemwarm.“We areallfrozen.” Lastfall,beforegovernmentoffi- cialsbroughtforeignreportersto visitthecomplex,theytolddis- gruntledresidentstostayinside theirapartments. “Theywereafraidwewouldtell thetruth,”Zhangsaid. Nicaraguanleaderproposespaycuts forself,aidestosavegovernmentfunds ASSOCIATEDPRESS MANAGUA,Nicaragua—Nic- aragua’snewpresidentoffered yesterdaytotakeasizablepaycut andtoslashthesalaryandbene- fitsofhistopaidestohelpthegov- ernmentsavemoney. Underaproposalhesentto Congress,PresidentEnriqueBo- lanoswouldearntheequivalentof $6,700amonth.Cabinetministers wouldearnabout$4,800. Thesalariesofthepresident andtopaideshavebeensome- thingofastatesecretinNicara- gua.Localanalystsestimatethat formerPresidentArnoldoAleman, wholeftofficelastmonth,earned about$12,000amonthbeforeex- penses. Bolanos,whocampaignedon promisesofanaustere,morehon- estgovernment,wouldreceive about$4,000amonthforexpenses. Cabinetministerswouldget $2,500. Thenewrulesalsowouldlimit thetimethatofficialdelegations spendonforeignvisitsandcutthe numberofdelegates.Spouses wouldnotbeabletotravelatstate expense,exceptforthewivesofthe presidentandvicepresident. Cabinetministerswouldhaveto flyineconomyclass. TreasurySecretaryEduardo Montealegresaidthemeasures shouldsaveabout$5milliona year. ** IMPORTANT CONSUMER FINANCING INFORMATION Zero percent financing options available for either 1 year or 6 months. Minimum $1000 purchase requirement for 1 year financing and $400 purchase requirement for 6 month financing. 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