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Recent Developments and Plans of Yuanming Yuan

2016-06-23 15:50:00Share:

There are currently several plans in China for rebuilding the old summer palace, but such moves have been opposed on the grounds that they will destroy an important relic of modern Chinese history.


  In addition, any rebuilding would be a colossal undertaking, and no rebuilding of above-the-ground structures has been approved.


  However, the lakes and waterways in the eastern half of the gardens have been dug up again and refilled with water, while hills around the lakes have been cleared of brushwood, recreating long-forgotten vistas. Several temples located inside the Old Summer Palace grounds have also been refurbished and rebuilt.

the old summer palace yuanmingyuan beijing travel china


  In February 2005, work was undertaken to reduce water loss from the lakes and canals in the Old Summer Palace by covering a total of 1.33 square kilometres of the beds with a membrane to reduce seepage. The park administration argued the prevention of water loss saves the park money, since water would have to be added to the lakes only once per year instead of three times.


  However, opponents of the project, such as Professor Zhengchun Zhang of Lanzhou University, feared the measure will destroy the ecology of the park, which depends on the water seepage from the lakes and the connection between the lakes and the underground water system.


  It is also feared the reduced seepage from the lakes will disturb Beijing's underground water system which is already suffering from depletion.


  There are also concerns about the gardens, which is a designated heritage site in the city of Beijing, changing their natural appearance.


  This issue, when brought up with the general public several weeks later, immediately caused an uproar from the press and became one of the hottest debates on the Internet in China due to the still painful memory of foreign humiliation epitomised in the destruction of the Old Summer Palace.


  The Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau (BEPB) recently conducted an assessment of the environmental impact of the measure.


  Up to the present, many relics which were taken from the Old Summer Palace remain in foreign museums and private collections.


  Although the Chinese government has tried to recover them, only a few statuettes from the Garden of Eternal Spring have actually been returned.


  Seven of the 21 columns displayed at the KODE Art Museums in Bergen, Norway were returned to Beijing University in 2014 as part of a deal set up by alumnus Huang Nubo, a real estate developer who donated 10 million Norwegian kroner (US$1.6 million) to the museum, according to the China Daily.


  It is still debated in China whether to apply for an inclusion of the Old Summer Palace on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The Imperial Gardens