Beijing`s summer palace marks 150 years of destruction

Yuanmingyuan was burned down by Anglo-French allied forces on Oct 18, 1860.

Last Updated: Sep 26, 2010, 10:23 AM IST

Beijing: People in the Chinese capital would soon be able to see how the country overcame the destruction and loot of the imperial summer palace that took place 150 years ago at the hands of the Anglo-French allied forces.

Yuanmingyuan - or the old summer palace - in Beijing was burned down by Anglo-French allied forces on October 18, 1860, during the Second Opium War. It was looted and burned down again in 1900 when the Eight-Power Allied Forces - troops sent by Britain, the US, Germany, France, Russia, Japan, Italy and Austria - took over Beijing.

Located in northwest Beijing, Yuanmingyuan was a resort for imperial families of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Now, authorities are organising a host of commemorative activities, under the theme "Peace, cooperation and harmony", that will last for nearly a month. The activities would consist of conferences, exhibitions and programmes on cultural exchange, Chen Mingjie, director of the management office at Yuanmingyuan, was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

Visitors will be able to see ancient stone-carvings kept intact during the loot, but also 150 repaired relics.

An organisation called the France-China Friendship Society will also donate a statue of Victor Hugo, a French writer who wrote about the loot in one of his books.

IANS