Imperial City, Beijing - Republic of China To Present

Republic of China To Present

After the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1912, the Republic of China government took over the Imperial City. Zhongnanhai was, for a time, converted into the Presidential Palace. The Imperial Shrines became a part of the Palace Museum. Beihai and Jingshan became public parks. Most of the former temples and imperial warehouses gradually became private residences.

In 1912, during a coup by warlord Cao Kun, the Donganmen gate was destroyed by fire. In 1914, the Corridor of a Thousand Steps was demolished to make way for Zhongshan Park, named after Sun Yat-sen. In 1915, in order to improve traffic, much of the wall surrounding the Imperial City was demolished. After the capital was moved to Nanjing, Zhongnanhai became a public park.

In 1949, the People's Republic of China was established in Beijing. In the next few years, Gate of China, Left Chang'an Gate, Right Chang'an Gate, the three remaining eastern and western gates, and Di'anmen were demolished. Zhongnanhai became the leadership compound of the new government, housing the central headquarters of the Communist Party of China and the State Council. Many of the surviving buildings in the former garden were demolished.

The area to the west of Beihai Park were occupied by the Department of Defence, with a large office building now dominating the park skyline. Most of the temples in the Imperial City were occupied by units of the People's Liberation Army. Some of these buildings remain occupied and are in severe disrepair.

In recent decade, the Beijing municipal government has restored several of these temples, and established a park around the remaining sections of the Imperial City wall. Plans were drawn up to gradually move out institutions occupying various historical buildings . In 2004, a 1984 ordinance relating to building height and planning restriction was renewed to establish the Imperial City area and the northern city area as a buffer zone for the Forbidden City. In 2005, a proposal was released to include the Imperial City and Beihai as extension items to the Forbidden City as a World Heritage Site.

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