Humans need memories to live

Updated: 2011-09-13 08:36

(China Daily)

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Premier Wen Jiabao and Feng Jicai, a researcher and "protector" of ancient villages, recently talked about protection of local cultures. Feng said that creation of business opportunities and unhealthy political achievements have ruined diversified ancient villages, some of which could be more than 5,000 years old, and Premier Wen criticized some local governments for being driven by profit to urbanize villages, says an article in Southern Metropolis Daily. Excerpts:

Urbanization has been linked with development of business, local GDP growth and local officials' promotion. This mechanism has forced urbanization, driven mainly by politics and business, to sacrifice the interests of rural people and many historical sites and buildings.

Moreover, the frequent "forcible demolitions" have exposed the local authorities' quest for profit in the urbanization drive. The authorities don't seem to be interested in preserving rural or for that matter old urban cultures.

Driven by the hunger of profit, many local authorities have razed old buildings both in rural and urban areas.

They have not only pulled down buildings, but also obliterated a sense of belonging deeply rooted in many local residents' minds. For local officials, buildings without a label of cultural or historical relic from relevant departments are not worth preserving. But even a few decades-old ordinary buildings could carry a lot of fond memories for many people who tend to lose a part of their lives once they are razed.

Urbanization has made people alien to their own environs. With the razing of buildings at random, many people, especially senior citizens, feel a deep sense of loss which cannot be conveyed or described in words.

Though urbanization is part of the trend of the times, a city needs more than material elevation. Residents need mental comfort and peace. Otherwise, they would be like walking ghosts without memory.

(China Daily 09/13/2011 page9)