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Harvey Dzodin:I love the spirit and energy not only of China but also of Beijing

Editor’s note: This year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up, and huge changes have been made in Beijing, capital of China, over the past 40 years. We have invited 40 foreign experts to participate in a series of interviews named “New Era, New Insight” jointly hosted by official website of Guangming Daily) and the Information Office of Beijing Municipality and share their “Beijing Stories”.

Harvey Dzodin:I love the spirit and energy not only of China but also of Beijing

There are several things I love about Beijing. Everybody knows about the Great Wall; everybody knows about the Forbidden City, but I like some other things too, and some of them maybe people have never heard of.

One of the places that I really like is a shopping center and office building in the center of Beijing called Parkview Green. It’s a modern building that took about 20 years to build from its acquisition. It’s a completely environmentally friendly building. It has unusual architecture, is full not only of beautiful shops but beautiful arts as well, so you can say that is a shopping center within an art museum, as well as an art museum within a shopping center. It’s a really beautiful place and I take visitors there because it’s so different.

Another place I like and it has changed quite a bit since I have lived here is the 798 art district. It’s full of art galleries and art studios, but it has changed a lots in fifteen years. It’s now much more diverse. It’s not only a place for art, it’s also a place for design. It’s especially wonderful to go there on the weekend and see so many people, especially young people dressed up in very colorful clothes, maybe almost as colorful as my clothes, because of the fact the people who go there love art. It’s a great place to go, it’s full of the energy and creativity that mark modern Beijing and I think everyone who comes to Beijing should go there for both the inspiration and just to feel naturally high. It’s so hard to imagine modern Beijing from the perspective of thirty years ago when I first came here.

There were so many pigeons but they were not real pigeons, there were the Flying Pigeon brand bicycles. There were no cars so bicycles were very popular in those days, and there were hundreds of thousands of them. You think the traffic in Beijing is bad today? Thirty years ago it was even worse because everybody was on bicycle, and it is funny how things that go around can come around because now we have so many shared bicycles in Beijing. It’s so easy to get from point A to point B by a shared bicycle. And the wonderful thing is that this makes for a more green environment.

The difference of 30 years is profound, so I think ahead to another 30 years from today. What’s Beijing going to be like then? It’s going to be one of the most important cities in the world. Why? Because China will be one of the most important countries, if not the most important country in the world and Beijing is its capital. I see a very dynamic city with great changes due to expanded public transportation. Because of this dramatic expansion, I see a greener city because the government is working very hard to solve the very difficult problems of pollution and air quality. And I see a city of more museums, of more culture, and more visits by foreign friends.

Beijing will be a place that people will want to visit and and come back to, because it not only is a great city now, but will be even more so in 30 years. I could choose to live anywhere in the world, but I’ve chosen to live in Beijing because it’s such a dynamic city and there are so many opportunities not only for Chinese but for foreign people like me. I love the spirit and energy not only of Beijing, but of all China. The excitement and energy are literally in the air when you come to Beijing.

[ Editor: Xueying ]