Garden, site of China's humiliation, to become archaeological park

16:28, September 20, 2010      

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The Old Summer Palace will be transformed into a national archaeological park, Chen Mingjie, head of the palace's management office, said at the Old Summer Palace Research and Protection International Forum on Sept. 19.

The Old Summer Palace, Yuanmingyuan in Chinese Pinyin, is located 8 kilometers (5.0 mi) northwest of the walls of the Forbidden City. The Imperial Gardens were destroyed by British and French troops in 1860 during the Second Opium War. Today, destruction of the gardens is still regarded as a symbol of foreign aggression and humiliation in China.

Chen said that the transformation plan has gained the preliminary approval of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.

Chen said that the management office is cooperating with Italy in studying the stone sculptures and inscriptions in the area of European-style palaces, and plans to jointly build an archaeological park in conjunction with Peking University. He is sure that the transformation plan will obtain the final approval.

In addition, the Old Summer Palace will also be jointly developed with sites outside the boundary walls to transform it into a cultural and creative industry. Chen said that the environmental improvement project is currently underway outside Old Summer Palace. The initial stage is expected to be completed by the end of 2011, and 106 hectares of development used sites will be integrated.

"These sites will be used as a comprehensive service, sports and entertainment area, and projects like constructing a theatre will also be launched. Visitors can also experience the royal treatment," Chen said.

Chen also said that the sites inside and outside the Old Summer Palace, which covers 4.6 square kilometers, will be jointly developed into a historical and cultural life circle. This will benefit universities and enterprises surrounding the area and will also transform the Old Summer Palace from solely relying on ticket sales to developing a cultural and creative industry.

After the speech, Chen also proposed in a personal capacity that a joint session mechanism of the "Three Hills and Five Gardens" should be established to jointly form a development program and construct a cultural and tourist industry belt of royal gardens.

By People's Daily Online


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