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Beijing's Trial By Fire

Beijing's Trial By Fire

In Chinese culture, fireworks are meant to drive away bad spirits. On Feb 9, 2009— the last night of Chinese New Year — they seemed to do exactly the opposite, starting a fire that tore through one of Beijing’s most lavish trophies of modernity and power. When the TVCC building, a nearly finished hotel and theater complex that is part of Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas’ bold new headquarters for China Central Television, went up in flames, it not only unleashed a torrent of controversy but became another fixture of Chinese culture — the terrible omen.

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