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A bright future in the “Liulangzhuang New Village”

October 30, 2013

konjaku: This blogger does not express criticism of the transformation of Liulangzhuang village. However, there is a sense of sadness and loss. I have omitted some historical details and added explanatory photos.

http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_488579410101m66q.html

In the 90s Liulangzhuang  started on the road to demolition and removal. In 1998, in order to build the 4th ring road, a large section of the village SE corner was requisitioned. This was the villagers’s first experience of demolition. A number of folks used their compensation fund to build buildings of two or more stories.

As the 21st century dawned, Beijing city planned to establish an urban green zone. In this plan, an area in the vicinity of the village was to become the Wanliu Sports Park. For this, a large section of the SE and NW was taken over. However, the Sports Park was not built, and, in the name of greenifying, the Wanliu Golf course was built instead. This was the second time Liulangzhuang experienced demolition. A small number of villagers who lost their homes used their compensation to buy apartments in the Wanliu New Homeland development.

In 2011 Beijing slated the entire village to be removed to make way for a “tree village.” All villagers were to be moved to the “Liulangzhuang New Village.” This third experience of demolition is to improve the villagers’ housing conditions, although there are still people who do not want to leave the existing village.

The villagers now would have to part from what they had lived and worked on and with for generations: the old land, old houses, fellow villagers, the fields, the trees, the rivers, the streets and lanes, and move to this Liulangzhuang New Village adjacent to the Shangdi Science and Technology Park zone. The hardworking and decent villagers must place their dreams and hopes for the future upon life in Liulangzhuang New Village.

I grew up in Liulangzhung. I love every blade of grass, every tree and bush, every building and every road, with an indelible love. From historical documents I find out the village’s past, from people of my father’s generation I hear about the village’s yesterday, with my eyes I discern the village’s present, within myself I earnestly hope for the village’s wonderful future.

Liulangzhuang today: the site was supposed to be part of the western green zone, with one section especially devoted to a sports park. Instead, in reality,  in the NW there is the Wanliu Golf Course, and in the SE, the scattered ruins of demolition.  On these ruins is supposed to be built the Summer Palace extended garden area, as specified in the Three Mountains Five Parks plan.

Wanliu Golf Course

Wanliu Golf Course

Wanliu Golf Course

Wanliu Golf Course

Wanliu Golf Course

Wanliu Golf Course

Wanliu Golf Course

Wanliu Golf Course

2013-04-18 I return to Liulangzhuang to take a look around. Inside the village there are still four or five households still holding out. The temple, tea booth, and the former residence of the painter Tian Shiguang have been listed as cultural protected sites and are still standing tall in their original places. The Liulangzhuang elementary school, the Liulangzhuang store, the vegetable stand, and the state-owned houses await demolition,  but everything else is torn down, scattered ruins.

Tian Shiguang

Tian Shiguang

Tian Shiguang painting

Tian Shiguang painting

Liulangzhuang temple

Liulangzhuang Zhenwu temple

The large pagoda tree in front of my house still stands there, the magpie nest still above in the branches. The magpie I know well still hops in the branches and comes down to the ground. The jujube with its crisp sweet fruit, the persimmon with its abundant golden yellow fruit, these are just starting to bud out with tender shoots. At my former neighbors houses close by there are a large willow,  a paulonia, an old elm; these still raise their heads waiting for their owners to return. In the streets and lanes with the old telephone poles I know so well, only a few stray dogs remain. They are reluctant to leave, they long for the tomorrow of Liulangzhuang.

The Beijing Evening News says: in 2013 they start building the Three Mountains Five Parks historical and cultural zone. The Liulangzhuang site will be greenified, adding onto the already completed Haidian Park and Jingmi Canal greenbelt, altogether making up a green protective screen. At the Summer Palace north gate area, the Qinglong Bridge old town will be restored. At the base of the Fragrant Hills they will restore the old merchant district, Meichang street.

In the Qing era, there were some 30 villages in the Summer Palace area, the population a mix of Manchu (Eight banners) and Han. Of the old villages in Haidian, Liulangzhuang should be the first choice to be protected [as having historical and cultural significance], since, from the beginning of the Ming, it has had a deep connection with the “Three Mountains Five Parks” area. During the latter Qing, paddy fields around the village were turned in to a garden with a small forest at the center. To the east of Liulangzhuang is Changchun garden and Xihua garden, to the west is Qingman garden, to the north is the old summer palace grounds. Inside the village is the Zhenwu temple [dedicated to Guan Yu] founded by the grandfather of Cao Xueqin [author of Dream of the Red Chamber], Cao Yin. In the Kangxi reign period the village was a sub-division of the imperial family paddy fields.

In the Three Mountains Five Parks plan, Liulangzhuang will become a scenic area extending from the Summer Palace. The basic road pattern will be preserved, the historical relics will remain, a certain quantity of Jingmi rice will be planted, there will be some historical reconstruction.

Liulangzhuang villagers’ future: the Liulangzhuang New Village standing tall, neighbor to the Shangdi Science Park. The New Village will be a complete residential complex,  equipped with a kindergarden, exercise facilities, health and sanitation office, a Bianmin Supermarket, a cultural square, and all the modern infrastructure of an urban district. The New Village will occupy more than 14 hectares,  the buildings will comprise 410,000 square meters altogether, with 4034 residential units. There will be 27 buildings eight stories or higher. In one stroke this will improve the living conditions of 4600 people, in 2700 households.

2013-04-15, for the second time, this writer went back to the construction site of the Liulangzhaung New Village. What I saw: there is a broad straight sidewalk dividing the southern and northern sections. The 27 buildings are arranged in three lines of nine, purplish red in color with pale outlining, eye-catching against the blue sky and white clouds. The main part of the buildings is finished, they are  in the course of installing external pipes, leveling the roads, putting up fences. The dream of a new life for the villagers has already begun.

Liulangzhuang New Village

Liulangzhuang New Village

As a Liulangzhung villager I am proud of Liulangzhuang’s long history and cultural achievements. I am fortunate to be able to achieve a comparatively good living standard in the New Village. As a Liulangzhung villager I am happy, I am industrious and courageous, keen of vision and ready to exert myself…

Wang Zhongzhen 2013-04-19

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