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Beijing attracts enthusiastic visitors during summer vacations

BEIJING, China: -- Many families across China and beyond are touring historical sites in Beijing during their children's summer holidays from July to August.

There are many tourist attractions for sightseeing in Beijing with the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Great Wall, Prince Gong's Mansion, Temple of Heaven, World Park and Beijing Capital Museum being very popular.

Senior volunteer guide Mr Zhang explaining the history of Prince Gong's Mansion for visitors.

One mother, who asked not to be named, told two Xinhuanet interns from Laos and Maldives that she came together with her family from different provinces of China for their holiday.

“My family lives in Shan Dong province now; my parents live in Hubei province. Although we don't live together, we travel together once a year as long as we can afford it. And Beijing is our capital city,” she said.

Prince Gong's Mansion, which she and her family visited on Thursday last week, was a great place to experience in central Beijing, she added.

Prince Gong's Mansion is one of the best preserved princely mansions in China. Construction of the mansion began in the 41st year in the reign of Emperor Qianlong in 1776. The mansion used to be the home of two powerful figures - Heshen and Prince Gong.

Prince Gong served as regent during the reign of Emperor Tongzhi and the mansion got its name from the prince.

Heshen was an official of the Qing Dynasty who was favoured by the Qianlong Emperor. He was a member of the Plain Red Banner, as well as one of the most corrupt officials in Chinese history. In 1772, he began work in the imperial palace, assigned as an imperial bodyguard and was stationed at the gates to the Forbidden City.

Once secure of the Qianlong Emperor's favour and approbation, Heshen enjoy ed almost complete freedom of his actions. He became openly corrupt and practiced extortion on a grand scale. He abrogated powers and official posts, including that of grand councillor, and regularly stole public funds and taxes. This widespread corruption and nepotism was the start of a century that led to the downfall of the Qing dynasty.

A vol unteer tour guide Mr Zhang, 78, has been working in Prince Gong's Mansion and the Beijing Capital Museum for 12 years after his retirement.

“People visit here for different proposes. Visitors who love history, even a first-grade student, can know a lot about history. But some people just come here to enjoy the view and the architecture. Groups come to learn the lessons of Heshen, who is famous for corruption in Chinese history. This place has become a base for fighting corruption,” he explained.

Prince Gong's Mansion attracts many visitors every day from all over the country even those from Beijing.

By Khonesavanh Latsaphao
(Latest Update August 3, 2017)

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