In Beijing, hutongs are alleys formed by traditional courtyard residences. Many of these alleys and residences where joined and the word hutong is also used to refer to such neighborhoods. Many of these hutongs deteriorated and were demolished. Some were designated protected areas and turned into tourist attractions. These pictures show a lively but disintegrating hutong in the centre of Beijing not far from Tienanmen square. Part of it has been destroyed in preparation of the summer olympic games in 2008.
© Jean-Claude Irminger