the source of this article is here: http://www.experiencetour.net/focus-1.html. All of the information I used in the article was found from the web, I just put them together without review. It is free to copy it with the condition of marking the original place.
Protect or Change it
--about the repair on Forbidden City
Two Different Voices
About three days ago (June 28th, 2007), news was released on 6 Chinese famous webs (Sina, 163, people, sohu…):
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) voiced grave concerns over the six world natural or cultural heritage sites including Forbidden City, Summer Palace, and Temple of Heaven in Beijing on the Chinese mainland facing the risk of being listed as endangered. (http://news.sina.com.cn/c/p/2007-06-28/062213326960.shtml)
The source is from Mr. Tong Mingkang, vice chief of State Administration of Cultural Heritage.
Only one day later (June 30, 2007), another news fellow, the title is: Heritage sites “not in danger”:
A cultural heritage official yesterday rejected some Chinese media reports that six of the country's World Heritage sites were considered being put on an endangered list.
Roni Amelan, a press officer with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) headquarters in Paris, also said that reports about the six sites were "not correct" and that the purpose of the World Heritage in Danger list is to garner support for better conservation. (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2007-06/29/content_905345.htm)
The two different voices will make you confused, we will not discuss the right and wrong of the two here this time, the fact is:
The focus of the great repair on the Forbidden City returns after nine years.
So I will begin from this great repair project of the Forbidden City.
Repair Project on the Forbidden City
Two years ago the repair project began. The tourists will not get surprised to find many places were closed during the trip. This is a picture of the Supreme Harmony Hall in the Forbidden City.
China is at work on the first full-scale effort to restore the imperial grandeur of its 584-year-old Forbidden City, the world's biggest palace and former residence of 24 emperors. Rebuilding and painting the vermillion-walled palace is expected to take until 2020. (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/2008/2006-10/13/content_707806.htm)
The project includes tearing down a five-story museum, National Archives Museum, which "has nothing to do with the palace," said by an official from the Forbidden City, and other modern buildings that disrupt the original layout of the grounds.
The most important thing is a huge underground museum will be built in the eastern part of the City to exhibit the treasures which cannot be open to public today.
The old buildings, dilapidated floors and fading color paintings as well as artistic antiques and articles of historical interest that need protection will be repaired.
The bricks in the main parts of the Forbidden City will be replaced by "Golden Bricks", which are made of special clay and delicately baked for years in Suzhou, a city in East China's Jiangsu Province.
In 2006, a 260-year-old imperial garden, once the favorite of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and ruined by a raging fire some 80 years ago, has been rebuilt through a five-year effort. "No cement or steel bars were used in restoring the buildings in the garden, we rebuilt the garden just how Emperor Qianlong built it originally." said Happy Harun, a deputy of the China Heritage Fund. (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/entertainment/2006-05/17/content_593295.htm)
The government is spending US$12 million a year to restore the Forbidden City; the expenditure on heritage protection in a single year at present comes close to matching the city's total spent in the 1990s, according to the Beijing Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage.
To be or not to be
Nine years ago, in 1998, the project of underground museum was planned to begin. This project was shelved one year later, the reason was that many people, especially the experts. They think the most important thing to protect the cultural heritage is its Reversibility. If a underground museum was built, the base of the City will be destroyed, and it is impossible to recover it again. In the book "Forbidden City" by the famous expert Li wenxue, the base under the Forbidden City is called "7 layers horizontal,8 layers vertical", that's the reason why the main hall of the City were not destroyed through many earthquakes for nearly 600 years. He gave an example: the army wanted to build an underground shelter under the Forbidden City, a hundred workers digged it for 5 days, they only advanced 5 meters, and they gave it up at last. A small part was changed; the whole structure would be destroyed.
When the famous expert Lou zhewen was asked about the project, his opinion was mild, "conditional agree, conditional oppose, on the basic of no influence of the whole building." When he was asked if the repair project can reach the target that can recover the old building and no influence left, his answer is:"nobody knows". (Southern China Weekend, April 25th, 2002)
Maybe this is a good thing for UNESCO voicing grave concerns on the Forbidden City and others. Forbidden City not only belong to China, but also belong to the world, this is a precious heritage for the human being on the earth.