The mausoleum of China's most controversial emperor is being restored thanks to a 300 million yuan (US$36 million) investment by its host county.
Yang Guang, also known as Emperor Suiyang, was the second and final emperor of the Sui Dynasty (581-618). He took power in 604 and is known for organizing the construction of the Beijing-Hangzhou Great Canal, which stretches from north to south across eastern China. It remains a lifeline for transportation and water resources for that region.
Yet Yang also is despised as one of the most brutal, abusive dictators in Chinese history. One tale claims he had the Great Canal built so he could sail to Yangzhou in East China's Jiangsu Province to appreciate the jade-colored blossoms there.
Emperor Suiyang was buried beside a pool in Hanjiang County in Yangzhou. His tomb is said to have been hit by thunders several times, thus the body of water nearby is known as "Thunder Pool."
The tomb is listed as a cultural relic by the province. The mausoleum to be rebuilt around the tomb will cover 30,000 square metres, local officials say.
Local authorities hope the project, when done, will attract tourists. By 2010, officials said, they hope to greet 160,000 visitors a year. That figure could hit 760,000 a year by 2020.
The mausoleum will be the centerpiece of a complex that will also include a street crafted in the style of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Tea houses, restaurants and shops also will be planned.
Dragon boat contests and folk art exhibitions are to be held regularly on Thunder Pool to attract tourists.
The mausoleum has been partly open to the public and the whole project will be completed by 2005.
Local officials are optimistic about the return of the Suiyang Mausoleum.
(China Daily 08/18/2001)