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

Friends of Old Beijing: Recommended Reading

In order to gain a deeper understanding of Old Beijing, program participants should do some independent research in addition to attending the training sessions and monthly lectures. Below is a recommended reading list in various relevant subjects (courtesy of Gladys Frame).

Of course, we believe there are many other books that we should include here. If you have any good recommendations, please contact us at: info@bjchp.org. Thank you!

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Author Title Publisher Year ISBN
Elder, Chris Old Peking: City of the Ruler of the World Oxford University Press 1997 0-19-590304-8

Friends of Old Beijing: About

Friends of Old Beijing, one of the Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center’s major programs, is currently in Phase II.  The goal is to produce a report on the condition of Beijing’s Old City for the municipal government by June 2008.  We hope that our research will help to advance the process of protecting the Old City of Beijing.  We will also post data and other information on our website as the research progresses.

Our volunteers are our most important asset. In October 2007, after several training sessions, more than 100 volunteers were divided into 10 groups and assigned to certain preservation districts.  The research for this program is divided into three stages: Phase I – hutongs inside the preservation districts, Phase II – hutongs outside the preservation districts, and Phase III – individual architectures within the preservation districts.  We have designed two survey forms for the volunteers to complete their research.  Both forms are divided into three sections: basic information, protection information, and resident interviews.  We also asked the volunteers to take relevant pictures during their research.

Throughout this entire process, we will hold monthly lectures which we hope will help improve the volunteers’ cultural protection knowledge, skills, and techniques.  CHP staff have also joined the volunteers in their surveying and held more training sessions throughout the process.

The volunteers’ surveying will not only assist us to write our report, but will also help raise preservation awareness among residents.  We hope that the volunteers will be able to influence the residents and strengthen the preservation of Old Beijing.

Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center

Donation Before July 2006

2003-2006 | Individual Donors: USD 13,500

2005 | James Thompson Foundation, Thailand: USD 7,500 (Menglian Dai Minority Documentation Project).

2004 | U.S. Embassy in Beijing: USD 8,000 (Training program for lawyers).

2003 | James Thompson Foundation, Thailand: USD 7,000 (Menglian Dai Minority Documentation Project).

2002 | Beijing Municipal Government: USD 3,600 (Drafting of law).

2001 | MacDonald Archaeological Institute of Cambridge University, UK: USD 1,000

2001 | UNESCO: USD 5,000

2000 | Museum Security Network (MSN) in Holland (maintenance cost of CHP website).

2000 | Trace Foundation: USD 10,000

More Historic Beijing Buildings Endangered?

The ongoing loss of old courtyard houses as developers continue to demolish hutong neighborhoods in the Old City of Beijing is well known. But we at CHP are also vigilant about the loss of more recent buildings that have architectural distinctiveness and are also part of Beijing’s heritage.
Recently we have discovered plans to demolish two Beijing landmarks, well known to anyone who has driven down Chang An Avenue, that date from the 1950s.  These are the two original Foreign Trade Department buildings designed by Xu Zhong and constructed in 1954. They are situated not far from Tian An Men Square on the south side of Chang An Avenue, opposite the Oriental Plaza.
In the early years after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, a group of architects sought to embody the artistry and style of the Chinese people in their contemporary architectural designs.  The result was the construction of buildings that incorporated  regional and traditional elements. The two most outstanding examples of this effort dating from the 1950s are Shanghai’s Memorial Hall of Lu Xun and the Foreign Trade Bureau of Beijing.

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Preserving Dai Culture for Posterity

In a broad valley in a remote corner of southern Yunnan Province, in the District of Meng Lian, twenty kilometers from the Burmese border, lie a number of Dai villages.  The Dai of these villages are heirs to a culture dating back hundreds of years to a time when the Dai formed a powerful kingdom dominating southern Yunnan Province and contiguous areas of Burma.  Over the centuries this kingdom broke up into a number of small Dai states, each headed by a jaofa, or Lord of Heaven.  These states gradually fell under the suzerainty of Beijing dynastic rule, and the Chinese emperor gave each jaofa the title of tusi, or local administrator, in the Chinese system of governing outlying ethnic minority areas.
Despite Chinese suzerainty, the Dai in these areas continued to live as their ancestors had, with Dai culture very much intact, with almost no influence from Han culture. All this changed after 1949, when the new Chinese government asserted strong administrative control over the Dai and other minority groups in Yunnan and elsewhere around the nation. From the 50s through the early 70s, aspects of traditional Dai culture came under attack as they were perceived to be “feudal”.  Today, in addition to the cultural disruption which occurred during those ideologically driven decades, the continuity of Dai culture is threatened by the same modernizing influences that are bringing about change in all traditional Asian cultures, and also by the economic and social attractiveness of China’s dominant Han culture.

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