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Tracking change on Beijing's subway

By Steven Ribet | China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-07 07:20

As a foreigner living long-term in China I have often faced the question: "You've seen tremendous changes during your time here. Which one impresses you most?" I was always at a loss to answer before I left Beijing, after living here for 12 years, in 2013. Yet one thing has hit me in the face since I returned a month ago: the Beijing subway.

The capital's masstransit railway had just two lines when I first came here in 2001. As a native Londoner I must confess I regarded it with a mixture of condescension and nostalgia.

Nostalgia because here, I thought, was this quaint, backward system, designed by Soviet planners in the 1950s, on a mission to show their younger Chinese brothers how the Moscow subway had played a key role in the Russian capital's heroic defense against the Nazi invasion of 1941.

Tracking change on Beijing's subway

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