Film about destruction of palace put on hold

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 October, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 October, 2001, 12:00am

The terrorist attacks in the US have caused a halt - and possibly the cancellation - of a multimillion-yuan movie on the destruction of an imperial palace in Beijing in 1860 by French and British forces.

News portal quoted Li Lichi, producer of The Burning of Yuanmingyuan, as saying that the events of September 11 had stopped production of the film indefinitely.

'On the one side, we have pressure from the film management authorities who say that it is better to make fewer disaster films in the near future,' he said. 'On the other hand, the public may not want to watch such films.

'It is very likely that we will not make the movie at all. I do not see how we can start shooting in the short term.'

Yuanmingyuan - also known as the Summer Palace - was a 350-hectare area of gardens and palaces in northwest Beijing built in the reign of the Kangxi emperor during the 18th century, with both Chinese and Western-style buildings.

It contained many art treasures and ancient books.

On October 18, 1860, on the orders of Lord Elgin, British and French troops burned and ransacked the area to punish the Qing Dynasty for resisting British demands for trade and diplomatic access.

The Chinese Government has chosen to leave the Yuanmingyuan as it was, with the pillars of a palace built to resemble Versailles lying in ruin as the soldiers left them.

In 1997, it declared the site 'a patriotic education base'. A slogan near the eastern entrance reads: 'Do not forget the national shame, rebuild the Chinese nation.'