Rebuilding the Forbidden City – Martin Bailey
The Chinese government announced last month that it is to make 1.5 billion Yuan ($185 million) available for restoration of the Forbidden City over the next 15 years. Work has already started, and scaffolding now covers dozens of buildings in the complex. Projects along the central axis are scheduled for completion by 2008, in time for the Olympic Games in Beijing.
The Chinese ethos of building restoration is radically different from that now prevalent in the West. In China, there is a much greater willingness to discard worn original material and replace it with replicas. This is symbolised by work currently taking place in the large courtyards of the Forbidden City.