Connect to share and comment
Beijing is ringing out the last day of the Chinese New Year celebrations and heralding the Year of the Ox with hundreds of tons of explosives tonight. But the year is already off to an incredibly inauspicious start, with a fire reportedly wiping out the about-to-open Mandarin Oriental Hotel connected with the China Central Television Tower.
The controversial CCTV tower, designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, was a centerpiece of Beijing's Olympics makeover, even though it wasn't scheduled to open until late 2009 or after. The iconic double towers appear to be intact, but reports say the hotel, connected with the complex is destroyed. Xinhua says the fire is still spreading with high winds.
The symbolism of the fire at a high-profile building on an important festival will not be missed. Expect the Chinese Internet to be buzzing with speculation and superstition, for as long as it's allowed.