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The central axis, backbone of Beijing

Updated: 2021-08-14 10:15 ( China Daily )
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Friends gather in Tian'anmen Square, dancing and singing to the old-time classic I Love Beijing Tian'anmen, Oct 12, 2020. [Photo by Zhang Jie/For China Daily]

The layout of Old Beijing resembles a quadrangle. Standing on the Wanchun Pavilion in Jingshan Park, the highest point of the old city, a central axis can be clearly seen dividing the city in two. The relationship or connection between the city and the central axis is like the middle vertical on the Chinese character zhong (center), from south to north, from the ground to heaven and through the upheavals of history.

The connection between me and the Beijing Central Axis can be traced back more than 50 years. When I first came to live in Beijing, my family was located in Huangsi Compound (No 21 Courtyard in An Deli North Street) on this central axis. This is where my boyhood was spent. At that time, playing and having fun was the center of my life, and I had not realized the significance of the central axis until much later in life.

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