Beijing plans to turn famous Changchun Temple, one of the largest Buddhist shrines in the national capital, into a museum as part of its effort to boost cultural development in the southern part of the city.
The construction of the temple began in 1592 during the imperial Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and it was also in this temple, where the coffin of Li Dazhao, a revolutionary martyr and early Communist Party leader, rested after he was killed by a ruling warlord in 1927.
The temple fell into disrepair at the middle of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and gradually became a residential block crowded with more than 200 homes.
Last year, the government of Xuanwu District began to rebuild the Changchun Street area and do repairs to the temple in collaboration with the Municipal Cultural Relics Bureau.
According to local officials, Xuanwu District is the site where the ancient capital of Beijing was first emerged more than 3,000 years ago, and it boasted a wealth of cultural heritage.
(Xinhua News Agency June 10, 2003)