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Old photos give a new perspective of Beijing

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-08-07 09:30
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CANBERRA - In Wei Shuge's eyes, Beijing is a city with many stories, some of which are told in the 26 pictures hung on the walls of his exhibition.

Wei is curator of the exhibition Newly Discovered Photographs of Beijing, 1900-1902, which runs through Aug 30 at the Australian Center on China in the World in the Australian National University.

On display are photocopies of pictures taken in the early 1900s, shortly after the end of the Yihetuan Movement and the invasion of the Eight-Nation Alliance - when troops from Britain, the United States, Germany, France, Russia, Japan, Italy and Austro-Hungary entered Beijing.

The pictures show destroyed gate towers, booths where people sat for civil service exams, a railway station, items the emperors used for worship, barbers as well as a funeral procession.

The original photos are in an album in the possession of Svetlana Paichadze, an assistant professor at Hokkaido University. The album was given to her by a historian impressed by her strong interest in East Asia. Wei saw the photos during her visit to Hokkaido University in 2016.

"We decided then that we could not have them hidden away in an office forever," she tells Xinhua.

She then uploaded the photos online, and photocopied some of them for the exhibition.

"With this exhibition, I hope that people can learn more about the old days and how people in Beijing lived through those unsettling times."

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