[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 3 March 2005, 09:54 GMT
China's New Faces: Zhang Xin
China's economic reforms have transformed the country's cities and the lifestyles of many residents.

As part of the BBC's China Week, BBC World Service spoke to some of the new generation of Chinese experiencing rapid change.

Chen Luyu
Chen Luyu:
Talk show host

Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei:

Jimmy Ye
Jimmy Ye:
Successful businessman

Zhang Xin
Zhang Xin:
Property developer

Zhang Xin

Zhang Xin
Zhang Xin: has helped in the transformation of Beijing's skyline
At 14, Zhang Xin worked on a factory floor in Hong Kong. She is now a property developer, responsible in part for the transformation of Beijing's skyline.

The company she runs with her husband has built two large housing developments - sleek, modern blocks, which have become popular with investors and the capital's burgeoning middle-class. This type of development is replacing Beijing's fast-vanishing one-storey traditional courtyards.

As it prepares to host the Olympic games in 2008, Beijing wants to show the world it is a rising economic superstar. Critics say it is sacrificing the old for the new, and it risks losing its Chinese identity.

Where we are now, the Jianwai Soho development, used to be the largest machine tool factory in Beijing.

As the whole state-owned manufacturing sector is shrinking, they're losing their competitiveness, so they're moving out of the city to a more industrialised area.

This whole area used to be industrialised, and now it's becoming the chic city centre, and most of the new developments are taking place here.

High-rise buildings in Beijing
Developers are opting for high-rise buildings
The old city was not enough to accommodate the huge increase in the population.

When the old city was here, it was built for ten percent of today's population - so inevitably, the new city has gone high-rise.

Most of my generation have lost the love for tradition

In fact, people have such a hatred for old things, for antiques and the courtyards. They think old means bad quality.

That's why we're very much focussed on building the new China, rather than preserving the old.

It's like anywhere else in the world. All modern buildings do not have the ethnic language.

If you look at London, New York or Hong Kong - all these new high rise buildings - you cannot tell what's English in it or what's American.

That's the character of modern language. But I don't think ethnic character and traditions are being lost just because we are having a new architectural language.

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific