Beijing's ancient buildings might used for leases in the future
Published: Sep 08, 2020 01:38 AM Updated: Sep 07, 2020 10:38 PM

Photo: CFP

Beijing's historical buildings can be used for leases, and the demolition of rows of traditional bungalows is forbidden, according to a draft of an amendment to the regulations on protection of Beijing as a Historic and Cultural City released by the People's Government of Beijing Municipality on Sunday.

The amendment is collecting public opinions from September 6 to October 5, covering the protection of historical buildings in Beijing. One of the most eye-catching items in it is that the historical buildings can be rented out.

According to the regulation released on the official website of the Beijing government, the protected historical buildings include world heritage and cultural relics, intangible cultural heritage, revolutionary relics and underground cultural relic burial areas. 

The regulations also clarified the bottom line and boundaries of rational use, requiring the use of historical and cultural heritage on the premise of proper implementation of protection.

It also encourages some famous towns and traditional villages to develop diversified characteristic industries, and it allows enterprises and individuals to carry out business activities that are coordinated with traditional culture to improve living standards.

"Most historical buildings are used for cultural tourism, but now they can be rented, which is a very good guide and exploration for the transformation of these buildings' protection and utilization," Tian Lin, a professor at Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

Tian pointed out that it might be good for the protection of some buildings if people live in them, because the people can find out the problems with the house and fix them in time. However, occupied houses can also be damaged, so working out how to keep the balance and making the rules clear is a very important issue.

Irene, a 27-year-old Northern Irish woman who currently lives at Nanluoguxiang, an old part of the Beijing city centre with a lot of hutongs and traditional bungalows, told the Global Times that she was very much in favor of the renting regulation because she thinks that the old houses are a form of Chinese traditional architecture.

The regulation also suggested forbidding the destruction of rows of traditional bungalows, but some netizens disagreed, saying that some shabby houses need to be replaced. 

However, Tian said that those bungalows can be fixed or renovated but the house's whole structure cannot be changed. Otherwise, it might destroy the original beauty of the traditional buildings.