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How is Beijing in Chinese Eyes

A town known as Yu Chou developed in the time of the Tang Dynasty(618-907) but was destroyed in 986 by the Liao. A city was then established on the site by the invaders; they called it Nan Jing, or “Southern Capital,” to distinguish it from their northern capital in Manchuria. In the eleventh century it was renamed Yen Jing.

The Liao were in turn defeated by the Jin in 1135 and the name of the town was once age.ln changed, this time to Chung Du.

The Mongols under the leadership of Kubilai Khan defeated the Jin in 1264 and built a new city on a site slightly to the north. They called it Da Du, or “Great Capital,” also known as Khanbalic.

The Yuan Dynasty was swept out by the Ming in 1368 and the site became known as Bei Ping, or “Northern Peace,” the capital being established farther south at Nanjing. The third emperor of the Ming, Yung Le. moved the capital back to the north in 1403 and rebuilt the city. naming it Beijing, or “Northern Capital.’ When the Manchu armies drove out the Ming the city was retained as the capital, and it remained so until the dynasty fell in 1911. The capital was then moved to Nanjing but was reestablished in Beijing a few months inter. In 1928 the Nationalist Government established the capital in. Nanjing hag once again, and Beijing assumed its provincial role again adopting the name of Bei Ping. However, it lost its status for only two decades. becoming the capital again after the Communists took the city on January 31. 1949. The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China now declares that the capital of the nation is Beijing.

Beijing is a curious place. It could be described as a village in search of a city and a city in search of a soul. Yet it has been in existence as a settlement for over 3,000 years, capital of the nation over many centuries, and center of power under the Mongols, the Ming, the Manchu, and now the Communists for a period spanning almost 700 years. Today it is the political, cultural, and administrative center of a resurgent China, home of eight million citizens, headquarters of the Communist Party; and seat of government. Doubtless, your memory of Beijing will be colored by the seasons.

In winter the days are cold but sunny; in spring the city is transformed by grin foliage; in summer the air is filled with hazy light and warmth; and in autumn the streets are paved with golden leaves. There is something here for you whatever time you visit the “Northern Capital.”

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