Saturday, December 15, 2007

For heaven's sake, get rid of this living hell

The photograph above accompanies an article in today's Melbourne Age about a "quietly passionate urban historian", Li Ye who, for most of his adult life, has been "preserving the history of Harbin so his 15-year-old daughter may connect with the place they have both grown up in." That place is the Manchurian city of Harbin which is now home to 10 million people, but was once a village when the tsarists brought in Chinese workers and turned it into a city.

The caption that accompanies the photograph describes it as follows:

"These old apartments on North Third Avenue in the "Inferno" side of Harbin, burnt down four years ago. More than 30 residents were killed, but the fire never made it past the city's news censors. Photo: Li Ye".

In the days to come, the irony of this caption will be covered in The Blank Pages of the Age.

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