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Wave of demolition hits Kunming

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Chai le
Chai le

The sledgehammer of change has been hitting Kunming especially hard in the past couple of weeks, with most of the focus on the small lean-to buildings that typically house small mom-and-pop convenience stores, clothing stores or restaurants.

Kunming has planned to get rid of most of these buildings for a while, and rumor has it that many of the spaces cleared will be converted into small gardens and parks in an attempt to make the Spring City one of China's greener metropolises.

In the meantime, many displaced businesses are moving into or looking for new locations. Ma Li, co-owner of underground book and music store Wheatfields (麦田), formerly on Qianju Jie, said he hopes to relocate the store somewhere in the Yunnan University area.

"We'd like to stay in this area, but it's difficult to find a suitable place that's available," Ma said.

Aside from smaller shops, some larger edifices are also biting the dust. Yesterday, sledgehammer crews behind the ubiquitous green netting and scaffolding were pounding the six-story building on the southwest corner of Renmin Zhong Lu and Zhengyi Lu, across from the Wuhua District government building. Dust from the demolition hampered visibility in the intersection throughout the day.

While some business owners are relocating and others calling it quits, at least one Kunming institution is planning to face the winds of change drunk.

The Camel Bar at 62 Tuodong Lu is throwing a two-day "Going Down With a Bang" party tomorrow and Saturday nights with all cocktails and shots for 10 yuan. Friday night will be a ska/punk/reggae party and Saturday will feature DJs and a band to be determined.

Editor's note: The Camel has had several 'closing' parties in the last few weeks - if this one isn't the last, don't blame us!

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