Landscaping Concerns in Beijing

At a public hearing held yesterday on environmental concerns over the lake-lining project at the Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan), experts clashed over whether it was necessary, or even legal, to line the lakes in plastic sheeting to stop water leakage during Beijing's dry summers. The Environmental Protection Administration apparently had not even been aware of the project until the media broke the story. Questions came fast and fierce, and the director of the Yuanmingyuan Administration Bureau, Li Jingqi, left the hearing in the middle of it all.


Trees at the Old Summer Palace are also a focus of concern, since many have been cut down recently to make way for a new landscaping project incorporating decorative shrubs and rock formations. The photo above is of footage shown at the hearing.

Meanwhile, across town at the new Opera House, landscape planning has reached an impasse, with French designer Paul Andreu insisting on planting trees, which apparently violates Chinese aesthetic sensibilities. Quoting Zheng Yue, representative of the Chinese side, the People's Daily Online says:

As to the landscape gardening, Zheng said Andreu wants tall, big trees and refuses to plant flowers and grass.

"But Chinese people like to use colourful flowers to create a joyous atmosphere, especially during festivals."

People's Daily Online: Hearing, trees cut, Opera House
Photo from Xinhuanet via

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