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Beijing to Restore Cultural Heritage for Olympiad
The Chinese capital has another major surprise up its sleeve for athletes and tourists worldwide who will be pouring in for the Olympic Games in 2008.

Ancient buildings in former imperial gardens, residences of the nobility and a number of imperial tombs will be restored over the next five years to treat visitors to more examples of the city's glorious culture and long history, Beijing Morning Post reported Friday.

Yuanmingyuan, a former imperial garden in northwestern Beijing, will be restored to its original condition, with restored buildings and landscaped hills and gardens, by 2008.

Top of the city's agenda for face-lifts are famous tourist attractions such as the Badaling section of the Great Wall, Liulichang Street featuring ancient Chinese culture in central Beijing, and the Guozijian Imperial Academy, where students studied to become officials and sat tough exams.

Between 2003 and 2008, the local cultural heritage department will receive a total of 600 million yuan (US$72 million) from the municipal government to maintain and renovate places of historic interest across the city, said Mei Ninghua, head of the department.

Besides the government contribution, the department has another 700 million yuan (US$84 million) from other sources to put into action its ambitious plan for an Olympic Games to showcase the city's culture and history, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency July 27, 2002)

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