Won­der­ful Beijing Sto­ries

Beijing (English) - - EDITOR’S NOTE - We wel­comey­our­com­mentsand­sug­ges­tionsvi­ae­mailto ed­i­tor@btm­bei­jing.com

Beijing has more than 3,000 years of his­tory as a city and over 860 years as a cap­i­tal. It is filled with many cul­tural re­mains and his­tor­i­cal mon­u­ments. Th­ese sites at­tract peo­ple from all over the world to visit, learn about and un­der­stand this an­cient city. Every­one who vis­its the city leaves with its cul­tural re­mains etched in their mem­ory and end up en­cour­ag­ing more peo­ple to come and see th­ese im­pres­sive sites for them­selves.

Ev­ery city has its own sto­ries hid­den through­out it, and Beijing is no dif­fer­ent. The build­ings in China's cap­i­tal are filled with tales of the past and have wit­nessed the city's evo­lu­tion and de­vel­op­ment. Just like the CPC Beijing Mu­nic­i­pal Com­mit­tee and Beijing Mu­nic­i­pal Govern­ment, all Bei­jingers have a duty to help the rest of the world un­der­stand the city and tell its sto­ries to visi­tors.

Beijing's his­tor­i­cal mon­u­ments, in­clud­ing seven World Her­itage Sites—the Great Wall, Ming Tombs, For­bid­den City, Sum­mer Palace, Pek­ing Man Site at Zhouk­oudian, Grand Canal and Tem­ple of Heaven—serve as the city's sto­ry­tellers. They have wit­nessed the changes and de­vel­op­ment of the city and played an in­te­gral part in its cul­tural pro­fun­dity. For ex­am­ple, the Pek­ing Man Site at Zhouk­oudian is a cra­dle of hu­man civil­i­sa­tion; the Great Wall re­flects the in­sight, wis­dom and prow­ess of an­cient Chi­nese; the For­bid­den City, the best-pre­served ex­ist­ing im­pe­rial palace in the world, is an ex­em­plar for tra­di­tional Chi­nese ar­chi­tec­ture; and the Tem­ple of Heaven, the world's largest sur­viv­ing al­tar for wor­ship­ping heaven, sym­bol­ises the Chi­nese idea of har­mo­nious co­ex­is­tence be­tween hu­mans and na­ture.

Aside from its World Her­itage Sites, Beijing's southto-north Cen­tral Axis stands out among its kind across the world for both its size and his­tory. The 7.8-kilo­me­tre­long axis stretches from Yongding Gate in the south to the Drum and Bell tow­ers in the north, con­nect­ing his­tor­i­cal mon­u­ments such as the For­bid­den City, Im­pe­rial An­ces­tral Tem­ple, Al­tar of Land and Grain, and the Tem­ple of Heaven. It is the best-pre­served ex­tant cen­tral axis in the world and ex­em­pli­fies the con­cept of “cen­tral merid­i­ans” in an­cient Chi­nese cities.

Cur­rently, Beijing has nom­i­nated the Cen­tral Axis for in­clu­sion on the UN­ESCO World Her­itage List. The Cen­tral Axis has be­come a fre­quently used phrase among Bei­jingers. Re­cently, the Na­tional Cul­tural Her­itage Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Beijing Mu­nic­i­pal Govern­ment jointly hosted the In­ter­na­tional Sem­i­nar on Pro­tec­tion of Beijing Cen­tral Axis Area and its Ap­pli­ca­tion for World Her­itage Site, at­tract­ing the par­tic­i­pa­tion of many renowned ex­perts. Par­tic­i­pants of­fered their opin­ions on how to de­scribe the Cen­tral Axis's val­ues, World Her­itage nom­i­na­tion plans, gov­er­nance meth­ods, and pre­sen­ta­tion and util­i­sa­tion.

Cai Qi, sec­re­tary of the CPC Beijing Mu­nic­i­pal Com­mit­tee, serves as the “in­ter­preter” for the Cen­tral Axis. He ex­plained how the Cen­tral Axis was the soul and back­bone of old Beijing, a ve­hi­cle for Chi­nese cul­ture and a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the most im­por­tant achieve­ment of ur­ban de­sign in an­cient East­ern cities. Pro­tect­ing, con­tin­u­ing and util­is­ing the axis is not only im­por­tant for Beijing but also ex­erts in­flu­ence on the de­vel­op­ment of hu­man civil­i­sa­tion. Cai added that nom­i­nat­ing the Cen­tral Axis for in­scrip­tion as a World Her­itage Site helps pro­tect the site.

Beijing ad­heres to the prin­ci­ples of re­spect­ing his­tory and min­imis­ing in­ter­fer­ence with his­tor­i­cal sites when pro­tect­ing them. It makes ef­forts to con­tinue tra­di­tional cul­ture and in­te­grate cul­tural re­mains with the mod­ern en­vi­ron­ment. By demon­strat­ing his­tor­i­cal mon­u­ments and sites to visi­tors, the city hopes its cul­tural re­mains can bring ben­e­fits to the lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment and res­i­dents. To en­sure the sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment of his­tor­i­cal sites, more de­tailed mea­sures will be taken to im­prove the city's preser­va­tion ef­forts.

Cai in­spected the Cen­tral Axis for the third time in 2018 in or­der to re­view the im­ple­men­ta­tion of plans to pro­tect it. He stressed that pro­tect­ing and con­tin­u­ing Beijing's Cen­tral Axis are im­por­tant po­lit­i­cal tasks; and that all re­lated peo­ple should be ac­count­able to his­tory, the coun­try and peo­ple when pro­tect­ing the site. Peo­ple from all walks of life have been en­cour­aged to work hard to help list the Cen­tral Axis as a World Her­itage Site and pro­tect it, and en­deav­our to show­case out­stand­ing Chi­nese cul­ture via the axis.

As the nom­i­na­tion process for the Cen­tral Axis pro­ceeds, Bei­jingers an­tic­i­pate be­ing able to tell the rest of the world more in­ter­est­ing sto­ries.

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