About CHP

Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center (CHP) is a small grassroots, legally-registered NGO working to protect cultural heritage across China.

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Heritage Trail project

Can NGOs Change the Status of Cultural Heritage Protection in China? The Case of CHP as an Example

(by Wang Yunxia & He Shuzhong, Realising Cultural Heritage Law,

A collection of essays edited by Lyndel V. Prott, Institute of Art and Law, 2013)
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Public Concerned About the Fate of East Gate Remains in Tongzhou

Recently, a blog by Yuan Shui Gu Qu (远水孤去) has triggered controversial public discussions  about an ancient site in Beijing.

Beijing Tongzhou District is building a new line of subway, and at the site of a planned station, the Remains of its East Gate as well as its Barbican Walls have been discovered. The remains are kept rather complete, and we can identify obvious locations of roads, pavements, and gutters inside the barbican walls. This subway station locates by a main street, and there are real estate developments on both sides, so this area has obvious high commercial value. In order to ensure the construction process of the subway, the local government is planning to “cut and move” the entire remains of the east gate, and then “restore” it when the subway station construction is completed.
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Public Opinion: Beijing Guggenheim Museum Should Not Be “ Inserted” in Huang Shi Cheng (Qing Dynasty Imperial Archives)

Plan of Beijing Guggenheim Museum

Recently, a Chinese architecture design studio announces their plan for Beijing Guggenheim Museum. As stated by the architect, “The contemporary insertions into the complex are designed to impact minimally on the fabric and character of Huang Shi Cheng, whilst being completely distinct from the existing structure in form and appearance. Although the new exhibition buildings aim to maximize available space in their strategic locations, they are self-contained structures that make no contact with the historic buildings around them.” This design had caused a lot of controversy once reported by the sina miniblog of China Museum Magazine. In order to give the public a chance to share their concerns, and to help the public opinion being heard effectively, Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center (CHP) has sent out an open invitation, so those who are concerned about the public interest on this cultural heritage preservation issue can participate in the discussion.

After the discussion, consensus has been formed, and everyone agrees that, Huang Shi Cheng, which was used to keep the imperial decrees, historical records and archives, is one of the most sacred heritage buildings in the Ming & Qing Dynasty Imperial City. Its main entrance, main hall, east & west annex buildings, as well as its imperial tablet pavilion were all built with traditional brick and stone structures; and it is now still surrounded by an old purple wall, and is one of the most intact buildings inside the Ming & Qing Imperial City. In order to protect Huang Shi Cheng, the Chinese government has listed it as the National Level Heritage Site, and has included it as the most important site to be protected in the Imperial City Preservation Plan. According to the Cultural Relics Protection Law, any construction project irrelevant to the protection of the site within the compound of Huang Shi Cheng should strictly be prohibited. If this design is to be implemented, it will be an illegal project. It will not merely be disrespectful for the historical value and artistic value of Huang Shi Cheng, but even a total intrusion and occupation. This plan has shown the disparaging attitude of the architects towards laws, and their intention to exploit on historical resources, with no sympathy for our past.

We all agree that, when facing challenges in preserving a historical monument, the humble attitude embraced by Confucianism should be its basic moral principle. If we leave aside the high moral values, we should at least observe the principle of equality and abide the law. We appeal the government to take up its full responsibilities and protect Huang Shi Cheng strictly by ruling out the plan for “inserting” the Beijing Guggenheim Museum. We also suggest that Huang Shi Cheng should be opened to the public as early as possible, so its historical and artistic value can be appreciated by the public and fully realize its social educational functions. This is also the responsibility of the government.

At the same time, we still have confidence towards the Guggenheim Museum, as we believe that the prestigious Guggenheim Museum would not be happy to see its Chinese partners conducting anything that might cause damage to the Chinese cultural heritage. We believe the Beijing Guggenheim Museum, should it choose to move to another site, will find peace and harmony with the Beijing old city, and the Chinese historical monuments.

For more information, please click http://en.bjchp.org/?p=5075

2012-06-30

Seminar Invitation: Yes, we CAN (Cultural Action Network)——Is It Appropriate to Build the Beijing Guggenheim Museum into the Huang Shi Cheng (Qing Dynasty Imperial Archives) compound?

Background:

Recently, the Guggenheim Museum Beijing & the Studio Pei Zhu jointly announced their conceptual design for Guggenheim Museum Beijing. According to the designer: “The contemporary insertions into the complex are designed to impact minimally on the fabric and character of Huang Shi Cheng, whilst being completely distinct from the existing structure in form and appearance. Although the new exhibition buildings aim to maximize available space in their strategic locations, they are self-contained structures that make no contact with the historic buildings around them.” This design had caused a lot of controversy once reported by the sina miniblog of China Museum Magazine.

Is it appropriate to build the Guggenheim Museum Beijing into the Huang Shi Cheng compound? Will it cause further damage to the Imperial Archives, the Imperial City, or even the Beijing Old City? How to open a visual dialogue between the new building and its historical context? The public should make their opinions heard.

Links on more details

About the CAN Project

Conceptual Design about the Guggenheim Museum Beijing

To follow CHP on sina mini-blog, click here.

Time: 2:30-4:30 pm, 30th June, 2012 (Saturday)

Venue: Meeting Room, Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center (CHP)

For directions, please click here.

RSVP: Seating is limited, so please RSVP with us: chpnews@163.com , or 010-64036532, including your name, phone number, and number of participants.

Notes

  1. Please bring any relevant information to this conference.
  2. Please bring your own water bottle to support protecting our environment.

In Beijing’s Building Frenzy, Even an ‘Immovable Cultural Relic’ Is Not Safe

New York Times By: Andrew Jacobs [February 3, 2012]

Preservationists in Beijing awoke last weekend to find that the house of the famous architects Liang Sicheng and Lin Huiyin had been reduced to rubble.

Preservationists in Beijing awoke last weekend to find that the house of the famous architects Liang Sicheng and Lin Huiyin had been reduced to rubble.

BEIJING — Even in its prime, the house at 24 Beizongbu Hutong was no architectural jewel, just one of countless brick-and-timber courtyard homes that clogged the labyrinthine heart of this ancient imperial capital.

But for seven years in the 1930s, it sheltered one of modern China’s most fabled couples, Liang Sicheng and Lin Huiyin, Ivy League-educated architects who had returned home to champion the notion that a great nation should hold dear its historic patrimony. It was Mr. Liang, the debonair son from an illustrious family of intellectuals, who urged the victorious Communists to preserve Beijing’s Yuan dynasty grid and its hulking city walls. Mao, the country’s unsentimental leader, thought otherwise.

So when architectural preservationists awoke last weekend to find that the couple’s house had been reduced to rubble, there was a predictable wave of outrage, but also a sense of helplessness that an official “immovable cultural relic” could be so easily dispatched by a government-affiliated real estate company.

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