Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Palace Life in Changchun

The crown jewel of the Changchun tourism industry is the palace of Pu Yi, who is usually referred to as the Last Emperor of China. On Monday, I spent a couple hours using the local bus system to land at the palace gate and then several hours touring the grounds with an English audio guide that clicked on and off as I made my way around the palatial grounds, which included an air-raid shelter and outdoor swimming pool, housing quarters where Pu Yi isolated his poor concubines, gorgeous rooms for watching movies, etc. There were hundreds of security guards throughout the palace--at least one of whom was nodding off. Each room was guarded and, understandably, since there were treasures from the Qing Dynasty in numerous rooms.

For me, the most fascinating part was the way that the plaques and signage that spoke about the Japanese. The pain, anger, and hatred are still raw. Japan still fails to acknowledge all of the terrible things they did during and after the Manchurian Incident. At one point, early in the tour, you are invited to see the "ugly faces" of the Japanese occupiers.

There is significance to the time on this clock. Pu Yi was a puppet emperor and this was the most significant gate of the palace.

The garden was delightful. The paths were all cobbled with polished stones and this little quiet spot beckoned. I hope to return in summer.

This was the school room in the palace.

You can see that this was an ornate and well-built assemblage of buildings.




A bit of a hypochondriac, Pu Yi had a whole room of medicines. He was frail as a child.

A manservant attends to the concubine (in wax).

There was a whole room of ornate uniforms for various people who held important positions within the puppet palace.

Important document signings would take place here.

The throne room.

Throughout the grounds there were various chapels for the worship of Buddha.

On the seats behind this screen were a syphony's worth of instruments, which were played during supper.

The royal dining room.




John Elder, my college advisor, plays Go on the Internet. Sixty and seventy years ago, the denizens of the palace played here.

Pu Yi meets with his puppeteer.

The Royal Movie Theatre!

Pretty great place to watch a movie if you ask me!


 
Adjacent to the palace grounds was a museum dedicated to exposing the horrors of the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, which lasted fourteen years. Like Hitler in Europe, the armies of Hitohito were ruthless, carrying our brutal experiments with poisonous gas on innocent Chinese victims.