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A Brief Introduction of Beijing

Beijing is both an old and a new city, old in its cultural heritage,and new as the capital of the People's Republic of China.


The story of Beijing dates back long before the recorded history. The fragments of the bones of "Peking Man", dated to a period about 300,000 - 500,000 years ago, were discovered in a village to the southwest of the present-day city. In the same area, the fossils of the "Upper Cave Man"dating back 18,000 years were also found. In the last 1,000 years, it has been China's political and cultural center. Beijing was established as the secondary capital of the Liao Kingdom (916-1125) in 938. In the Jin Kingdom (1115-1234) in 1151, Beijing began to serve as the central capital.

After the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) was founded, Beijing was made by Kublai Khan in 1263 the winter capital and a grand metropolitan city which became the center of international cultural exchanges in the Orient. The foundation of the layout of present Beijing was laid in 1404, when the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) decided to move the capital from Nanjing to Beijing and started a large-scale construction. Many of the ancient palace buildings, temple structures and gardens that are still visible today can be traced back to this period or later.

Weak Ming rulers and corrupt bureaucrats finally doomed the Ming Dynasty. The last Ming emperor hanged himself behind the Imperial Palace and the Qing succeeded the Ming and ruled China in Beijing from 1644 to 1910.

Following the 1911 revolution that overthrew the Qing Dynasty, Beijing became the arena of important political events, such as the May Fourth Movement. On October 1, 1949, Beijing became the capital of the New China. Today's Beijing is mingled with tradition and modernity. While seeking for industrialization, the Government is also carrying out a conservation program to protect the traditional houses in the downtown area to partly maintain Beijing's original outlook.

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