Despite dramatic images being circulated on social media this afternoon, the city is not tearing down the hallowed square between the Drum and Bell towers -- they're merely replacing the stone tiles that line the square.
With nary a sign in the vicinity explaining the renovations, one cannot blame passers-by for getting a little panicked by the bulldozers, especially because rumors have been floating for years that the place will be torn down and rebuilt in a hideously modern gentrification scheme a la Qianmen. Further fanning the flames of hearsay has been the expressed interest of the Dongcheng district government to "improve" the public square by tearing down neighboring structures that the city deems illegal.
However, a caption in this morning's Beiing News indicates that the destruction is actually a re-construction (at least this time around). The caption reads: "Tiles Replaced at Gulou Square: Yesterday the tiles of Gulou Square were dug up. According to workers at the site, the old tiles are being replaced by new, thicker stone tiles that are more resilient. The square will undergo a slight change in the process, mainly increasing the amount of green space."
No word on when renovations will be complete; let's hope the newly tiled square retains the charm of the old one, and that the construction crews don't pull a "whoopsie!" and knock down a few neighboring structures in the process.
Photos: Mitchell Pe Masilun
Visit the original source and full text: the Beijinger Blog