中 文

home > Imperial Garden > history > The Burning of the Old Summer Palace

The Burning of the Old Summer Palace

2016-03-17 09:52:47Share:

  In October 1856, the British forces bombarded Guangzhou and carried out provocation towards the Qing government. Afterwards, the two sides started the second opium war.

 

  Only one year after the occupation of Guangzhou, British and French troops led the way up toward north. In 1858, they arrived to Tianjin gates and threatened that they will attack Peking. Thus, the Qing government hurriedly sent someone to propose. In 1859, British and French minister each led a fleet to exchange the treaties. Although the British and French representative appointed by the Qing government enter Beijing from Tianjin north pond land, they broke into Taku Bar brutally relied on their military force. As a result, the British and French troops were fired by the Qing army stationed there and escaped from Taku Bar.

 

Looting of the Old Summer Palace by Anglo-French forces in 1860 during the Second Opium War.

  Looting of the Old Summer Palace by Anglo-French forces in 1860 during the Second Opium War.

 

  After intense disputes occurred between the two sides In Tongzhou negotiations, the Qing government refused UK's unreasonable demands and seized the line of 39 people to Beijing as a hostage. Once learning the news, the British and French troops invaded Beijing immediately. In August of Emperor Xianfeng decade (1860), the Qing government returned the 39 hostages, among which, only 18 people were still alive, all the rest were killed, including seven Times journalists. This event gave the Anglo-French allied forces a reasonable excuse to invade Yuanmingyuan garden.

 

  On October 6, 1860, the British and French troops occupied the old Summer Palace. Starting from the next day, in order to revenge, British and French troops’ officers and soldiers are frantically to looting and destruction. To force the Qing government to accept unequal treaties as soon as possible, the British army chief, Eerjin, ordered his soldiers to burn Yuanmingyuan. Emperor Xianfeng escaped to the Summer Mountain resort In Rehe, Chengde today, with his wife and concubines.

 

  The fire lasted three days and three nights, during which, the Summer Palace and near Qingyi garden, Jing Ming garden, providence, Chang spring park and Haidian town were all burnt ruins. The main minister of Yuanmingyuan garden Wen Feng threw herself into airdropping, nearly 300 eunuchs, ladies, craftsman died in the flames. What’s more, a large quantity of precious antiques and treasures were lost from our country to other lands.

  This brutal burning is the world’s rare atrocity and a disaster in the history of human civilization. At the same time, it gives all Chinese citizens a clear warning: “keep in mind the history, and do not forget this humiliation”.