Competition aims to bring public and Beijing Central Axis closer
Published: Apr 02, 2023 10:34 PM
Photo: Courtesy of the Competition for Transmission and Promotion of the Beijing Central Axis

Photo: Courtesy of the Competition for Transmission and Promotion of the Beijing Central Axis

A competition aimed at getting the public to learn more about the Beijing Central Axis, a centuries-old architecture complex, was launched in the capital city on Sunday. 

The Competition for the Transmission and Promotion of the Beijing Central Axis, set to run for half a year, aims to get people of all ages to learn more about this collection of heritage sites in the heart of Beijing. 

"One of our main aims is to give more people, especially the young people, the chance to gain an all-round understanding of the Beijing Central Axis. This competition is only a platform for that," Chen Mingjie, director of the Beijing Cultural Heritage Bureau, said at the launch ceremony.

"Public participation has always played an indispensable part in protecting the Beijing Central Axis," Chen noted. In order to achieve this goal, a range of cultural spaces, including a digital exhibition hall, a themed post office and a themed bookstore, are set to be opened along the axis. 

The Beijing Central Axis, a 7.8-kilometer-long area that runs through the center of the city from the Drum Tower and Bell Tower north of the Forbidden City to Yongding Gate in the south, encompasses three world heritage sites, 11 national key heritage sites, and two municipal heritage sites.

Held three times since 2021, the annual competition has received a wide range of works seeking to teach the public about the axis, from digital paintings to traditional Chinese crosstalk performances. With participants ranging from 3 years old to 86, the competition has drawn more than 100,000 people from over 30 countries and regions around the world.

"Heritage belongs to humanity, and its protection should not be the responsibility of only cultural professionals and heritage managers. It is really a shared responsibility for each and every one of us," noted Duong Bich Hanh, chief of the Culture Unit of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) Beijing Office.

With its unique core competitiveness of classic Asian urban planning and legacy of Confucian etiquette, the axis is a standout among tangible cultural heritage sites around the world. Experts are currently working on the last stages of its application for UNESCO World Heritage status.

On August 7, 2022, China's National Administration of Cultural Heritage announced that the country would apply to have the Beijing Central Axis recognized by UNESCO in 2024, over 10 years ahead of initial estimates - the original application was set for 2035.