Burning the Old Summer Palace2015-12-18 10:08:36Share:
The event of "Burning the Old Imperial Palace" took place in the late Qing Dynasty. It is one of the crimes committed by the Anglo-French Allied Forces when they invaded China in 1860, and also, an appalling culture-destroying activity in modern Chinese history.
Located in the northwestern suburb of Beijing, the Old Summer Palace was a royal garden as well as a grand and beautiful palace. Covering an area of over 5000 mu, the Old Summer Palace was a model of Chinese architectural art and culture. Due to the numerous invaluable treasures preserved in it, the Old Summer Palace could be rated as one of the human's cultural treasure house and the largest museum in the world.
The Old Summer Palace was plundered and burned twice by foreign invaders starting from 1857 when the Anglo-French Allied Forces launched the invasive war against China. On October 6, 1860, they attacked Beijing and rushed in the palace to carry out crazy plunder. After robbing the palace off nearly all treasures, Elgin, the English minister supreme ordered to burn the palace. It was almost burned down after being on fire for three successive days and nights. What the Anglo-French Allied Forces directed at was razing the Old Summer Palace to the ground. Nevertheless, due to its huge size and scattered scenic spots as well as vast water area, some remote places and spots on water managed to survive this disaster. According to the investigation performed in the winter of the twelfth year of Tongzhi's reign (1873), there still existed 13 buildings in the palace. The Old Summer Palace suffered another burning in the 26th year of Guangxu's reign (1900) in the Qing Dynasty when the Eight-Power Allied Forces invaded Beijing and burned the already disastrous palace. As a result, the remaining 13 buildings in it were plundered and set on fire.
This catastrophe was deprecated by Hugo, a famous French author in this way: "One day, two robbers rushed into the palace. One was busy in robbing, and the other taking pleasure in setting fire. Then they returned cheerfully to Europe. They are respectively called France and Britain. They "shared" the Old Summer Palace, the oriental treasure house, and chuckled to themselves with the view that they have achieved a great victory!"
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