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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.

Archeologists worries that it would be impossible to “cut and move” a few thousand square meters of the east gate remains, and once the subway station construction is completed, there would be no place to “restore” it either. Public believes that the so called “cut and move” then “restore” plan is simply an excuse in favor of the commercial interests. According to this plan, even if the East Gate Remains can be preserved, it will only be just a very small part of it. To sacrifice the East Gate Remains for the commercial development plan is a very wrong and stupid idea of the local government.

In fact, the commercial development plan can be rearranged elsewhere, or its location can be adjusted slightly on site, and these changes will not be devastating for the economic development of Tongzhou District. The East Gate Remains is an irreplaceable and important cultural resource for Tongzhou District, it can not only help the district regain its cultural identity, but also lift its cultural significance, and in term, attracts more tourist resources for high quality economic development. The fate of the East Gate Remains, whether it is preserved or destroyed, is a test for the cultural preservation awareness of the local government, as well as a test for their cultural sensitivity and taste. So the local government is now facing two choices: one is to destroy the cultural heritage remains in exchange for short-term commercial interest, the other is to preserve the remains for long term development. To make the right choice will urgently require the local government fully understand their responsibilities as a civil servant.

Experts already gave feasible solutions to protect the remains of the Tongzhou East Gate: move the planned subway station slightly west. What the public needs to do is to help the local government making the correct decision. Dear friends, please join our efforts to make the local government hearing our ideas, and help them to make the right decision.

For more details, please refer to the following blog of Yuan Shui Gu Qu:

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