CHINA HERITAGE QUARTERLY China Heritage Project, The Australian National University ISSN 1833-8461
No. 28, December 2011


The Lake Reformed: a Chronology (1978-2000) | China Heritage Quarterly

The Lake Reformed: a Chronology (1978-2000)

This outline chronology offers an overview of the history of West Lake and Hangzhou from the beginning of the reform period in 1978 until 2000. It also notes dates, events and historical figures that feature in this issue of China Heritage Quarterly. Links to the relevant items (marked [⇒]) are provided throughout the text. Click here to see the full chronology.—The Editor

The Reform Era, 1978-2000

September 1979, Wang Villa, now renamed Zhejiang Xizi Guest House (Zhejiang Xizi Binguan 浙江西子賓館), which was previously restricted to party-state leaders is opened to foreign travellers. It remains a state guesthouse and is frequently used by visiting dignitaries, local and foreign

During the 1980s, the long and arduous process is undertaken by local city and garden planners aimed at convincing party-state organizations that have occupied prize buildings and sites on or near West Lake to relocate. This continues into the new millennium

1980s, a statue of Lu Xun is located at West Lake Park One (Xihu Yi Gongyuan) on the northeast corner of the lake near a major traffic intersection. This is satirized by local citizens not only for the inappropriate position of a statue of the revered writer, but also in light of the fact that Lu Xun died of tuberculosis. By positioning a statue of him at a polluted intersection this seemed to be an act that added injury to insult. Lu Xun is moved to Solitary Hill and replaced first by a large floral sculpture and then a clock.

1980, the Dharma Master Memorial Pagoda is rebuilt at Running Tiger Temple with funds from the devout

1981, the first phase of the re-development of Breeze Amongst the Lotuses of Brewing Courtyard (Quyuan Fenghe 麴院風荷). Prior to this, the area was surrounded by a wall and devoted to farms for raising chickens and ducks, with employees' temporary housing. Prior to the re-development of Lotus, the area in front of the Tomb of Yue Fei was cut off from West Lake by a wall and sundry structures. These were gradually demolished. Also in this year the tomb of the revolutionary, philosopher and writer Zhang Taiyan (章太炎, ming 炳麟, 1869-1936) is restored

5 August, the State Council issues a report on protecting and redeveloping West Lake

1982, earth is added to Master Ruan's Islet in West Lake just south of Solitary Island. This third island in the Lake proper was formerly too low in the water to be accessible; it is now developed into a tourist spot

20 September 1983, Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang (胡耀邦, d.1989) comments on a report about illegal structures on West Lake that they must be removed. Over time other leaders in Beijing also comment on the need to clean up the Lake and protect it as a cultural property

1984, part of the grounds of the Dahua Hotel and buildings formerly belong to the School of Chinese Medicine are converted in Number One Lakeside Park (Hubin Yi Gongyuan 湖濱一公園). Also in this year a formal organization charged with the redesign of the northwest lakeshore is established

1985-86, Ten New Scenes of West Lake (Xihu Xin Shijing 西湖新十景) are selected under the auspices of Hangzhou Daily, the West Lake parks and gardens administration and a number of local industries. Stelae with the titles of the new scenes inscribed on them are erected in 1986. The scenes were: 1. 雲棲竹徑 (Bamboo-lined Path at Yunqi); 2. 滿隴桂雨 (Osmanthus Rain at Manlong Village); 3. 虎跑夢泉 (Dreaming of Spring Water at Hupao Valley); 4. 龙井问茶 (Searching for Tea at Dragon Well); 5. 九溪煙樹 (Nine-creeks Meandering Through the Misty Forest); 6. 吳山天風 (Heavenly Wind Over Wu Hill); 7. 阮墩环碧 (Master Ruan's Islet Suffused in Emerald); 8. 黃龍吐翠 (Yellow Dragon Cave Filled with Green); 9. 玉皇飛雲 (Clouds Scudding Over the Hill of the Jade Emperor); and, 10. 寶石流霞 (Precious Stone Hill Floating on Roseate Clouds)

January 1988, the Zhang Taiyan Museum (Zhang Taiyan Jinian Guan 章太炎紀念館) just south of Su Causeway opens

Fig.1 Lake Heart Pavilion. (Photograph: GRB)

8 August, a typhoon strikes Hangzhou and 123 of the 142 trees on the Bai Causeway are felled. Local citizens are so distressed that they rush to the scene to save the devastated trees. The local Party authorities are astounded by this spontaneous demonstration of civic concern

1990s, the garish lights that were introduced around West Lake during the previous decade become more dominant

1990, the second phase in the re-development of Lotus. The West Lake Public Security Bureau, previously located on the western edge of the present scenic zone was relocated. Also in this year, Jiang Villa is refurbished as a memorial to the late philosopher Ma Yifu, who had lived there from 1950 until being hounded out by Red Guards in 1966, and opened to the public

1991, various government organizations located to the west of the approach to Yue Fei's Tomb, including the West Lake Traffic Police Force, government offices related to industry and public transportation, as well as the local official travel bureau and some forty-eight households were relocated. After seven years of tortuous negotiations (from 1982-1989) Guo Zhuang (Guo Zhuang Fenyang Bieshu 郭莊汾陽別墅) is opened as a teahouse and public park following refurbishment

1992, the Yue Fei Tomb shopping mall is built

December 1992, Deng Xiaoping visits West Lake and instructs local officials to enhance the tourist value of the area

1993, various government organizations located to the east of the approach to Yue Fei's Tomb, including the education and cultural bureaux, as well as the West Lake Parks and Cultural Artifacts Management Bureau, are relocated

1994, the noted martial arts novelist and Hong Kong media tycoon Jin Yong 金庸 (the penname of Zha Liangyong 查良鏞, b.1924) invests 140 million yuan to build the Cloud Pine Studio (Yunsong Shushe 雲松書社) to the northeast of Nine Li of Clouds and Pines, not far from the offices of the relocated West Lake tourist administration. Completed in June 1996 this garden-studio-restaurant complex is handed over to the Hangzhou government in November and opened to the public in February 1997

1995, the commemorative arch to the Song dynasty general Yue Fei's loyalty (the Bixie Danxin Bei 碧血丹心碑) is finished and the plaza in front of the Yue Fei Temple is completed

1996, after six years of work the Garden of Unadorned Bamboo (Zhusu Yuan 竹素園) to the immediate south-west of the Yue Fei Temple is completed. This garden was originally built in the 1731 as part of a complex dedicated to the tutelary spirit of the Lake, but later allowed to fall into ruin. Also during 1996 the clock at West Lake Park One dating from the 1980s is replaced by an ungainly 'Phoenix Beauty' (Meiren Feng 美人鳳).

1997, Chen Xing 陳星 founds the Master Hongyi and Feng Zikai Research Institute (Hongyi Dashi, Feng Zikai Yanjiu Zhongxin 弘一大師、豐子愷研究中心)

2000, Cheng Villa, Chiang Kai-shek's former West Lake residence, is listed as a municipal cultural property. It opens to the public as the Cheng Villa Café (Cheng Lu kafeiguan 澄廬咖啡館)