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200-year-old temples in Beijing converted into high-end restaurants

Two historic temples in Beijing, China have been converted into restaurants, sparking debate over how to protect heritage sites in the capital.

The two temples, Songzhu Temple and Zhizhu Temple, situated in Dongcheng district of Beijing, are over 200 years old and had been listed as historical sites under the protection of Beijing’s cultural heritage administration. Converted into high end restaurants that mostly cater to foreigners, a sign has been installed over Zhizhu Temple advertising the establishment as ‘Temple Restaurant Beijing’.

The Beijing Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage said it will urge the users of the temples to follow the rules, and it will strengthen protection of cultural relics. Recently renovated in 2005, the owners of the temples carried out repair and maintenance work to the historic buildings which had been in a state of disrepair for many years. It has not been stated yet whether the new use of the buildings is in violation of Chinese law.

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