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Beijing's old backstreets are right up too many tourists' alley
Beijing's old backstreets are right up too many tourists' alley

Almost every morning, Liu Yunjiang prepares a show for strangers at his house in one of Beijing's oldest neighborhoods. He starts by tending to his birds — cockatiels, pigeons and mynas he's taught to cry "Hello" in Mandarin — and then he walks his grubby Pekingese, Momo. Today, he'll welcome a group of eight people; the day before, 50 visitors crowded into his small traditional home. As soon as the tourists knock on his courtyard door, he erupts with energy, cracking dirty jokes and offering up colorful anecdotes about bygone Beijing before concluding with a demonstration of his fighting crickets. While his wife makes dumplings for the group, Liu,...

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