Gallery: China Zun

This building has become in my mind a symbol of my time in Beijing. It’s the first thing I found myself absorbed in when I first arrived. It’s across the street from where I work and was right outside the window of the first place I sat down at there, at a little hallway table meeting with an HR person. It was visible from the roof of the first apartment building I lived in, where I’d go at sunrise to stretch and drink coffee. It’s visible from my current apartment.

Construction already was well underway when I moved here. Its progress has tracked with my time here. It’s felt like a clock ticking. “If I’m still here when that tower is finished, it’ll mean I’ve been wasting time and need to get moving,” I think to myself. The tower is always visible with the turn of a head or a step outside lest I forget.

When they put the top on it, I thought, “This means it’ll soon be time for me to go.” Then they turned on some of its lights, and I thought the same. Then they lit up the sides for the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic. By this point it is one more of the many reasons piling up for me to leave.

The building formally is called the Citic Tower, and is also known as China Zun. It is the tallest building in the city.