Peeking into Beijing

Visiting Beijing for the Summer Olympics or just for business? Here are a few recommendations of what not to miss

The Summer Palace

The Summer Palace complex boasts one of the best classical Chinese gardens in the world. The walled grounds stretch around man-made Kunming Lake, about nine miles from central Beijing. Here, you can read poems, written with water right on the sidewalks. You can take a boat across the lake or ramble along a seemingly endless covered Long Corridor featuring thousands of colorful paintings of domestic and battle scenes. The biggest attraction: the marble boat. An ancient Chinese proverb says: "Water can carry the boat as well as overturn it." In this allegory, the emperor is the boat, and the people are the water. The marble boat, which, of course, cannot be sunk, is one emperor's attempt to throw such populist ideas overboard.

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