Subject: Re: Disappearing History in China (was: Travel in China)
Hi Sue and everyone interested in Asia,

We in HK are also concerned about the proposed development around the Po Lin Monastery but ... luckily, the plans are NOT those of the Chinese government - they are plans of the Hong Kong SAR government and we are still, very much a different system than that of China (one country, two systems is still in effect).

We do have public consultation surrounding development and these consultations are still to be undertaken before this proposal gets off the ground. We are hoping that the concerns of environmental and cultural groups will at least tone down the development so that it is properly integrated into the community, rather than simply an obliteration of the landscape. I just participated in a phone-in show on the local radio station (government owned) which discussed the project and listened to objections.

Unfortunately, however (as in other countries), public consultation does not always help. The vehement objections that many of us put forward regarding the plans for HK Disneyland were not listened to because the draw of massive tourism influx from our Chinese and other Asian neighbours was just too strong. It is unfortunate - in my view we need to stop importing American culture and begin highlighting the fascinating history and culture of this region. Hopefully we will have more success with the Po Lin site.

I agree wholeheartedly with your advice for anyone interested ...... GO NOW - China is a fascinating country and, since public consultation is almost non-existent on the mainland....... they are destroying their heritage faster than you can imagine.

Cheers! Judy in Hong Kong