Photo: Li Hao/GT
The Old Summer Palace, or the Yuanmingyuan Ruins Park, in Beijing opened free of charge on Sunday to commemorate the 160th anniversary of the massive looting and destruction of the palace carried out by Anglo-French coalition forces in 1860. The troops were sent by the British and French empires to invade China in the late Qing Dynasty during the Second Opium War (1856-60).
The hashtag “160th anniversary of the sacking of the Old Summer Palace” had earned 260 million views on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo as of Sunday afternoon, with many Chinese netizens commenting: “Do not forget this national shame.”
Clips from the documentary The Old Summer Palace have also gone viral on Sina Weibo.
“The Old Summer Palace had more than 100 gardens. However, it was ruined by invaders. It is painful to see the gardens of the Old Summer Palace that have been restored through technical means in the documentary. We need to remember our history and continue to improve ourselves,” one Chinese netizen wrote on Sina Weibo.
Covering more than 3.5 square kilometers, the palace was built in 1707 during the reign of the Kangxi Emperor. It used to serve emperors as an imperial garden for taking a rest during the hot summer. It is renowned throughout the world for its grand and elegant landscapes, extensive collection of gardens, architecture, art and historical treasures, according to reports.
On October 18, 1860, the Anglo-French Alliance Forces sacked and looted the palace during the Second Opium War. It took 4,000