Beijing 1960s / Old Inner City Wall

Beijing 1960s / Old Inner City Wall
The Old Inner City Wall is no longer there to guard Beijing's inner city.

 

The Old Inner City Wall is no longer there to guard Beijing's inner city.
The Old Inner City Wall is no longer there to guard Beijing’s inner city. Inner City Wall Northeast Corner of Beijing © 1921, 北京的城墙和城门, 喜仁龙
The demolished city wall of Beijing © 2005, China Heritage Quarterly, Issue 4
The demolished city wall of Beijing © 2005, China Heritage Quarterly, Issue 4
A simplified map of Beijing showing the 4 layers of fabrics and the walls in between each.
A simplified map of Beijing showing the 4 layers of fabrics and the walls in between each. City Wall Map © 2006, Kallgan
Walls and gate of Beijing © 1927, Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington
Walls and gate of Beijing © 1927, Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington

Old Inner City Wall of Beijing was demolished by the mid-1960s as the Communist Party was desperate to dismantle the old Beijing and bring in new elements. 50 years ago Beijing was the world’s well preserved ancient city and was the excellent example of Chinese architecture and urban planning. The 4 layers of urban fabrics –outer city, inner city, imperial city and forbidden city were the splendid conclusion drawn by the 2 dynasties across 800 years. However this old Beijing no longer exists. What we can see nowadays are the smog, the grey sky, the congestion and the weird combinations of genres of buildings here and there without a planning. Maybe it’s a tradition for Chinese people–when they put on a new era, they pull down the castellated walls from previous. The same thing had happened to Xian 1000 years ago. However this time, the Party didn’t do it solely for honouring the new era, but also to follow footsteps from another Communist country USSR, so as to develop the country the ‘dream way’ they wanted.

1 Comment on “Beijing 1960s / Old Inner City Wall

  1. It is indeed a pity that Beijing’s old city wall was demolished. And all the efforts made to preserve it has been wasted. In 1949, the PLA besieged Peiping with 900,000 soldiers to confront Fu Zuoyi’s 250,000 in Peiping city, and forced them to surrender, to protect this historical city from war. Only a few years later, they just forgot the efforts and good wishes, and started to demolish the city wall. And the worst thing is, demolishing the city wall didn’t really help much about the traffic, and traffic jam is a more and more serious problem of Beijing.
    On the other hand, I do understand what people back then thought about the city wall. It truly was a symbol of the old time that they wanted to get rid of, and they didn’t have the budget to change it into a “people’s city wall”, so that they can keep it. And maybe if they had one more chance to make the decision, they would still have demolished the it. Maybe it is of necessity to demolish, although it truly was a tragedy. We don’t call it a tragedy if it is a matter of luck like losing a gamble, it is a tragedy because everyone tried their best to make a right decision, they still made a bad decision,and possibly it was a decision that must be made in that historical background. Events does not just happen, it always happen because a lot of reasons, and there are richness there, there are humanity there. I’m very interested in the details of why they demolish the city wall, and what exactly happened back then.

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