His­tory Revisited

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In the south of Bei­jing, the city is in the process of build­ing the 15.6-square-kilo­me­tre (sq.m) Nanyuan For­est Wet­land Park. Nanyuan orig­i­nally served as an im­pe­rial hunt­ing ground dur­ing the Liao (AD 907–1125), Jin (1115–1234), Yuan (1271–1368), Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dy­nas­ties and will be turned into a largescale green space. More specif­i­cally, the area’s wet­lands and many at­trac­tions such as Nany­ouqi­ufeng (“Au­tumn Breeze in Nanyuan”), a fa­mous sight dur­ing an­cient times, will be re­stored to their for­mer glory. This ex­cit­ing news means that peo­ple will once again be able to ad­mire the cap­i­tal’s an­cient sights.

The “Au­tumn Breeze in Nanyuan” was one of the

Ten Sights of Yan­jing (Bei­jing) dur­ing the Ming and Qing dy­nas­ties. Dur­ing the Qing Dy­nasty, Nanyuan—also known as Nan­haizi—played a num­ber of roles. As well as be­ing an im­pe­rial hunt­ing ground, it also served as a venue for re­view­ing troops and host­ing po­lit­i­cal and diplo­matic ac­tiv­i­ties. Ev­ery au­tumn dur­ing in an­cient times, when­ever the breeze blew, Nanyuan with its wet­lands and di­verse wildlife such as deer and pheas­ants, was a sight to be­hold.

Feng­tai Dis­trict has al­ready started to de­velop the Nanyuan For­est Wet­land Park, famed for its springs, lakes and rivers, by restor­ing its for­mer at­trac­tions. The park will bor­der the South Fourth Ring Road to the north, Nanyuan Air­port to the south, Jingkai Ex­press­way to the west, and the junc­tion be­tween Feng­tai and Dax­ing dis­tricts to the east. Its to­tal area of green spa­ces and lakes, rivers will be ap­prox­i­mately 1.5 times the size of the Bei­jing Olympic For­est Park; 7,291- mu (one mu is equal to about 0.067 hectares) will be cov­ered by for­est, ac­count­ing for over half of its to­tal area of green spa­ces; and a re­claimed wa­ter plant in Huaifang cov­er­ing an area of 700 mu with a max­i­mum ca­pac­ity of 600,000 tons per day will be com­pleted near the north of the park to pro­vide the park’s wet­lands with wa­ter.

Over the years, the Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nist Party of China (CPC) and the Peo­ple’s Govern­ment of Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal­ity have at­tached great im­por­tance to the state of the city’s ecol­ogy. At the Fifth Ple­nary Ses­sion of the 12th CPC Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal Com­mit­tee, Sec­re­tary of the CPC Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal Com­mit­tee Cai Qi stressed that Bei­jing must con­tinue to tackle wa­ter and soil pol­lu­tion, im­prove waste dis­posal, carry out a new round of the one mil­lion- mu af­foresta­tion project and ex­pand its green eco­log­i­cal spa­ces. He also stated that the city should fo­cus it ur­ban spa­tial dis­tri­bu­tion on devel­op­ing eco­log­i­cal con­ser­va­tion ar­eas; devel­op­ing the city’s dis­tricts to ad­here to the pol­icy of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment; and at the same time, strength­en­ing the city’s ur­ban de­sign and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion to make Bei­jing into a city com­bin­ing cul­tural her­itage, fash­ion­able el­e­ments and ex­cel­lent eco­log­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment.

In July, the Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal Com­mis­sion of De­vel­op­ment and Re­form re­leased the re­sults of ded­i­cated ac­tions to re­lieve Bei­jing of func­tions that are nonessen­tial to its role as China’s cap­i­tal dur­ing the first six months of 2018: cre­at­ing a to­tal area of 824 hectares of green spa­ces based on re­mov­ing il­le­gal­ly­con­structed build­ings, up­grad­ing 4,647 lo­cales with il­le­gal con­struc­tions that were ren­o­vated in 2017, ren­o­vat­ing 3,218 lo­cales with il­le­gal con­struc­tions, ren­o­vat­ing a to­tal area of 6.75 mil­lion sq.m in the ru­ralur­ban fringe zone, and re­mov­ing and up­grad­ing 127 mar­kets and lo­gis­tics cen­tres. By the end of June, the ded­i­cated ac­tions had achieved their stated goals. These ac­tions en­abled Bei­jing res­i­dents to feel the chang­ing city: Changle­fang For­est Park in Xicheng Dis­trict now has an ad­di­tional 6,000-sq.m of green space, giv­ing lo­cals a place to en­joy leisure ac­tiv­i­ties. Caochang neigh­bour­hood in Dongcheng Dis­trict has had many of its build­ings ren­o­vated, over 100 small gar­dens added to its al­leys, and its lo­cal fa­cil­i­ties such as su­per­mar­kets, gro­cers, hair­dressers and car parks have been up­graded. This only pro­tects the area’s his­tor­i­cal fea­tures, but also makes life eas­ier for its res­i­dents. Mean­while, Erhekai Com­pound near Yuan­mingyuan (the Old Sum­mer Palace) in Haid­ian Dis­trict has had il­le­gal struc­tures re­placed by fields and has pre­served thou­sands of trees, cre­at­ing a pas­toral view. These changes, spread over the city’s 16 dis­tricts, are bring­ing ben­e­fits to mil­lions of Bei­jingers.

To­day, Bei­jing is chang­ing rapidly in ev­ery as­pect ac­cord­ing to the prin­ci­ple of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment. Un­veil­ing the beauty of Bei­jing—in­clud­ing by restor­ing its his­tor­i­cal at­trac­tions—en­ables the city to show­case a more pos­i­tive im­age and im­proves the hap­pi­ness of Bei­jingers.

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