Video: Climb China Central TV Tower Today! / by Thomas O'Malley

Beijing's tallest structure, the Central TV Tower was built in 1994 way out west in Haidian district. Marooned in a middling low-rise neighbourhood, it's an anomaly - probably some district official pulled a lot of strings to get it built, but the development never followed.

It is, I recently discovered, a stop on the China tour group circuit, with its kitsch revolving restaurant and panoramic outdoor viewing deck. The problem is, you're a bit too far out to spot any of Beijing's big sites, aside from Kunming Lake at the Summer Palace, and the suggestion of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City by a long empty block in the distant heart of the city.

I paid a visit recently on a February afternoon to write a blog for Bespoke Beijing. A few folks I'd canvassed  didn't even acknowledge it as the tallest thing in China's capital city (It's 75m taller than China World Tower 3, the tallest skyscraper but not the tallest structure).

What I found was an endearingly kitsch throwback to a simpler (?) time in Beijing a decade and a half before the city's 'coming out' on the Olympic stage. In the car park, a reel playing on loop over loudspeakers was so daft I recorded it on my phone. The next day I used the photos and a bit of video I'd shot to put together this jokey promo-reel type video.