China's capital has undergone a transformation so thoroughgoing that "makeover" doesn't begin to describe the change. Entire neighbourhoods have been ripped down and rebuilt. Cutting-edge western architects have created futuristic landmarks amid the forests of gleaming new office towers. The ancient capital has taken on an edgy, neon-electric 21st-century feel with swanky five-star hotels and late-night shopping. But why have the Chinese buried their history and almost destroyed one of the world's most fabled cities, virtually extinguishing the culture of one of the greatest and oldest civilizations within the span of a single lifetime? In order to get Beijing ready for the Olympics, the Chinese has said farewell to Peking.