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“Beijing’s Mystery Canal: Centuries-Old Brook Reimagined in Qianmen Neighborhood,” The Beijinger

Beijing’s Mystery Canal: Centuries-Old Brook Reimagined in Qianmen Neighborhood

Last month, state media buzzed about the restoration of an ancient brook, a long-lost waterway transformed into a beautiful new park in Beijing. The trouble was, the brook didn’t seem to exist on any historical maps of the city. Long-time China watcher, historian, and author Paul French (Midnight in Peking, Tales from the Badlandswondered on Twitter, “Could this be a pretend brook??”*

It turns out the brook was – at one time – quite real, although it hasn’t flowed since the days of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the current park is more a reimagining of an idealized Beijing canal than an attempt to accurately restore a historical waterway.

Originally posted on The Beijinger July 3, 2017


*It’s a good question considering the proliferation of fabricated historical sites in China…