Layers of Beijing (Mr.Shi’s story)

68 years ago “Beijing” was not the capital of China. It is easy to forget, but our neighbor Mr. Shi remembers. He was standing at the Imperial gate of Qianmen when the Communists came in.

The scruffy looking soldiers did not look as modern as the Republican Army that had just fled to Taiwan, but the discipline of the soldiers amazed him. No mentionable looting was taking place.

But, with the Communists, wave upon wave of seemingly endless social campaigns started. Illiteracy, rats, sparrows, Imperialists and Rightists were all targeted in the enormous Communist effort to change society and transform Beijing into the Communist capital of China. Industries were moved into old temples. Brothels and opium dens closed down.

Our new project “Layers of Beijing” creates a portrait of the time from 1949 to the present day, with an emphasis on the dramatic changes of the 1950s. Based upon interviews and archival research we have created a portrait of Beijing from the perspective of those who have lived through the immense changes.

It has been an illuminating experience talking to people who remember the city before and just after the Communist arrival. Not long ago camels still carried in coal from the mines of Mentougou, the gigantic city walls were still in place. Wood-fired buses rambled through the streets in a flume of black smoke, and ration coupons were just as important as money in hand.

Our neighbor Mr.Shi knows because he was there.

Time: 3:00pm – 5:30pm 
Cost: 200 RMB

To reserve your spot, please email us at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Event Properties

Event date: 10-15-2017 03:00 PM
Event End Date: 10-15-2017 05:30 PM
Capacity Unlimited
Individual Price ¥200.00
Location Yangmeizhu Xiejie 97