FOCAC journalists tour Beijing's central axis

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More than 70 journalists covering the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) took a look at Beijing's central axis on Sept. 2 to learn about the historical legacy of Beijing.

The journalist were from 19 countries, including Angola, Egypt, Mauritius, Gabon, Germany, and Japan. The event is part of a media tour co-organized by the media center of the 2018 Beijing Summit of the FOCAC and the Information Office of the Beijing Municipal People's Government.

At the Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall, the journalists watched the film "The Immortal City," which gives a brief introduction to Beijing's 850-year-old history as the country's capital. Standing in front of the giant copper relief "Beijing Old City," the journalists learned about the layout of the old Beijing city and gained some insight into the traditional central axis of Beijing.

The traditional central axis of Beijing, built in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), has a history of more than 700 years. The axis is seen as the soul line and lifeline of the capital. The centripetal pattern centered on the ancient imperial city with the 7.8 km-long central axis from Yongdingmen Gate to the Bell Tower is deemed as one of the most outstanding urban design paradigms in world history.

Beijing is now applying for a World Cultural Heritage designation for its central axis. According to the Beijing Municipal Commission for City Planning and Land Resources Management, a new Beijing central axis, tentatively called "Huanlesong" (or an "Ode to Joy"), will greatly extend the traditional central axis. With a total length of 26 kilometers, the new central axis shall be divided into three sections, namely the "time axis" (north extension of the traditional central axis), the "historical axis" (the traditional axis) and the "future axis" (southern extension of the traditional central axis to the Nanyuan area).

In the Planning Exhibition Hall, the reporters had a panoramic view of the current central axis by overlooking the Beijing urban planning model at a ratio of one to 750. Bolabola Joelle Zita, a TV anchor of the StarTimes Group, said she had a deeper understanding of the city after the visit, even though she has been in Beijing for 10 years.

Bolabola Joelle Zita added that there is now a lot of cooperation between Africa and China. She said she hopes to return to Gabon with what she has learned in China, and that she may start her own business or work in the government, continuing to contribute to the Sino-African exchange.

Standing on the Yongdingmen Tower, the southern end of Beijing's central axis, the journalists could see a straight axis extending northward. At Jingshan Mountain, the largest palace garden on the central axis, the reporters climbed to the Wanchun Pavilion at the peak. Overlooking the whole city, the journalists feasted their eyes with the beautiful sceneries along the south-north central axis, and many took photos of the beautiful cityscape of Beijing.

Herve Mewenemesse, a reporter with Togo TV, said he likes Chinese culture very much, which was why he came to Beijing to work. He hopes that he could make the ancient and yet modern capital of Beijing better known among Africans.

Journalists from 278 media agencies of 153 countries and regions participated in the series of media tours around Beijing from Aug. 29 to Sept. 2. They visited such places as Beijing's new airport that is currently under construction, Zhongguancun Science Park, the backstage of a Peking Opera house, the Lao She Teahouse, etc. In just a few days, they had a close look at Beijing from different perspectives and experienced the capital's new development in the fields of culture, science and technology, as well as economy.

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