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This post was edited by reedak at 2015-4-21 19:26|
1. Following are excerpts from the 21 April 2015 article at the "artdaily" website headlined "Chinese imperial palace may sue over sprawling $5 billion replica: State media".
BEIJING (AFP).- The managers of the Old Summer Palace in Beijing, looted by British and French troops in the 19th century, are threatening legal action over a Chinese movie studio's sprawling $5 billion replica, state media said.
In 2007, Hengdian World Studios, the world's largest outdoor film studio, announced it planned to build a multi-billion-dollar replica of Beijing's Old Summer Palace at its headquarters some 1,500 kilometres south of the Chinese capital.
The 18th-century original in Beijing's northwest served as a retreat for China's emperors, with lavish gardens, fountains and pavilions, but was pillaged by British and French troops in 1860 during the Second Opium War.....
Parts of the new version are finally scheduled to open next month, but the project has been sharply criticised by the stewards of the former imperial complex, who said that the 400-hectare (990-acre) site is "unique and cannot be replicated".
"The construction and development of the site should be planned by authoritative national organisations, and any replication of it should reach certain standards," the palace's administrative office told China's official Xinhua news agency Sunday.
Xinhua said potential legal action centred on intellectual property rights, without giving details.
Hengdian founder Xu Wenrong defended the project, telling the agency that it was an effort to educate China's younger generation about China's past rather than simply build a reproduction of the site.
Hengdian World Studios has already built a full-scale replica of Beijing's Forbidden City. Yet the Old Summer Palace, or Yuanmingyuan, project has attracted controversy due to its place in Chinese history.
The destruction was in response to China's capture, torture and killing of members of a British and French delegation.....
When the film studio announced the project in 2007, experts and others were sharply critical, arguing the money would be better spent preserving surviving cultural relics than recreating long-lost ones.
"The replica is unnecessary because the Yuanmingyuan was destroyed by the Allied Forces and the present day ruins serve as a testimony to that period of humiliating history," cultural relics expert Ruan Yisan had told Xinhua.
In the wake of the latest row, some in China rallied to defend the movie studio, arguing that the project will strengthen public understanding of China's history.
"The Old Summer Palace was built at the cost of the whole nation but open to the royal family only; if the recreation in the movie town opens to the public, it will help more people know about our history and engage with the past," said Yang Jianhua, a researcher at Zhejiang Academy of Social Sciences, according to the China Daily.
On China's popular online social networks, some users called the Old Summer Palace's claims laughable.
"Historical relics have no 'intellectual property' rights," wrote one user of Sina Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter, on Monday. "If you carve a statue of Confucius, Washington, or any other figure from hundreds or thousands of years ago, is that a violation of their rights?"
Others called for the new project to be halted.
"I think they shouldn't rebuild it," a Sina Weibo user wrote. "That history is written in blood. A dilapidated Yuanmingyuan is better able to remind us of that humiliating chapter of history." (End excerpts)
2. Previously I thought Yuanmingyuan, like the legendary city of Troy, could not be replicated due to the following reasons:
(a) No blueprint of the former imperial complex
(b) Lack of money
Thus the news of replicating the Old Summer Palace came as a surprise to me. It shows that it can easily be replicated on the original site. Since the historical relics belong to the state, I also wonder why there is a need to sue for infringement of 'intellectual property' rights. The government can easily solve the problem just by giving the order to halt the project.
The argument to preserve a dilapidated Yuanmingyuan as a reminder of the country's past humiliation by foreign powers doesn't hold water. In the midst of the country's building boom in which the living competes with the dead for living space, it's irrational to waste valuable land resources by keeping an eyesore as a sad reminder of China's tragic past.
Talking about humiliation, no other country in the world has suffered more humilation than Japan. At the height of its power in 1942, the Empire of Japan ruled over a land area spanning 7,400,000 square kilometres (2,857,000 sq mi), making it one of the largest maritime empires in history. The large Japanese empire, however, disappeared overnight after the US nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Approximately 66,000 died in Hiroshima from the acute effects of the “Little Boy” bomb and about 35,000 more in Nagasaki from the “Fat Man” device. The actual death toll rose significantly due to the effects of radiation and wounds.
Does Japan feel the need to preserve the nuclear ruins of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the following reasons?
(a) To remind the Japanese of their humiliating chapter of history
(b) As a testimony of the Japan's victimisation and humiliation by the "rice country" (米国)
(c) To remind Japan's future generations that they must settle scores with the "rice country" one day.
Facts have shown that the Japanese are sober enough not to waste their valuable land resources by preserving the eyesores. Instead, the world finds Hiroshima and Nagasaki filled with more vitality after rising from the nuclear ashes.
Just ask any psychiatrist and he would tell you that instead of dragging the victim of a trauma back to the past, he would advise him to move forward and keep looking at the future.
It's time for the Chinese to march and look forward, with heads raised high, to stay strong, be focused, optimistic and confident of their future.
It's also time for China to consider rebuilding Yuanmingyuan on the original site, not as a retreat for the emperors but as an enjoyment and education for all Chinese, rich and poor. Before tearing down the ruins, 2-D photos of every part of the ruins could be taken from all angles for display in a museum built especially for the project. The original stones and parts of the ruins could either be used as exhibits in the museum or recycled as parts of the replica. In addition, an interactive virtual tour of the ruins can be created using panoramic photography to make viewers feel as if they are in the location, experiencing it firsthand. The presentations in the museum can use sound effects and music to add a physical and emotional quality. In this way, a "reborn" Yuanmingyuan could rise up from the ashes and ruins while students, educators, scholars and researchers could still travel through time to tour the old ruins in the museum.
I end my post with a quote from Gordon Ramsay, a Scottish-born British chef and restaurateur: "I don't like looking back. I'm always constantly looking forward. I'm not the one to sort of sit and cry over spilt milk. I'm too busy looking for the next cow."