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.