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Lesson 54 The Summer Palace 2

Chinese Lover

































Xuemei: Xiao Wang, we’ve wanted to visit the Summer Palace for a long time. Thank you for coming here with us today.

Xiao Wang: Please don’t mention it, you’re too polite.

Xiaojie: Xiao Wang, there are so many entrances, which one should we go in?

Xiao Wang: This is called the East Palace Gate. It’s the formal entrance for the Summer Palace. The middle of the entrance was reserved for the emperor and empress, there was no way other people could go in through here.

Xiaojie: Then how did they go in?

Xiao Wang: only through the small gates at the two sides.

Xuemei: Who would have thought there would be so many rules even for gates?

(after they enter the gate)

Xiaojie: This place is massive!Xiao Wang, which way should we go?

Xiao Wang: The Summer Palace might seem huge, with over three thousand rooms, but it’s actually just made up of three parts. The Palace area, Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake. Which part would you like to see?

Xuemei: We want to see them all, but we don’t know which one first.

Xiaojie: Palace area? Is that wher the emperor used to live? Let’s go there first.

Xiao Wang: OK. That’s wher the dowager empress Cixi and the emperor attended to political affairs. You can even see the dowager empress’s Qingong.

Xiaojie: Qingong?What’s that?

Xiao Wang: Oh, “qin”means to sleep. Qingong is wher the emperor and the dowager empress used to rest.

Xuemei: The dowager empress and the emperor lived at the Summer Palace as well?Didn’t they live in the Forbidden City?

Xiaojie: They only came here occasionally for holidays, right?

Xiao Wang: Not really. The dowager empress liked staying here a lot, sometimes she’d stay for as long as half a year or more.

Xuemei: (coming out of the Qingong)This must be the famous Long Corridor?I’ve seen it many times on postcards.

Xiaojie: (looks at paintings on the crossbeams of the Long Corridor)What are all these paintings?I don’t understand them at all!

Xiao Wang: These are landscape paintings of West Lake, some are folk stories. It’s not easy to understand all of them.

Xuemei: I think this long corridor is a good idea, it separates the mountain and lake, and it’s a shelter against the wind and sun while you enjoy the sights.

Xiao Wang: You’re spot on, that’s exactly right.

Xiaojie: Mum, quick, come and have a look. This lake is so pretty!

Xiao Wang: This is Kunming Lake. It’s shaped like a birthday peach. wheras the Longevity Hill behind it is shaped like a bat.

Xiaojie: Bianfu? Why a bat? How ugly!

Xiao Wang: Got you, huh? That’s because the “fu” in “ bianfu” sounds the same as the “fu” in “xingfu”or happiness.

Xuemei: So the design is for good luck.

Xiao Wang: That’s certainly one consideration, but it’s also a major feature of Chinese landscaped gardens.

Xiaojie: I don’t get it. I don’t get it. Let ’s go and climb the mountain.

Xiao Wang: OK!


1)偶尔 occasionally


I normally eat at home, but occasionally I go out to eat as well.


I normally get up at regular time, but sometimes I sleep in as well.

Sign Posts

The Summer Palace

The Summer Palace 颐和园 is one of the best sites in the Beijing area. In the later part of the last dynasty, the imperial family would come here during the summer months to avoid the heat of the Forbidden City. Relief from the heat is mainly due to Kunming Lake, which occupies about ¾ of the park. Much of this lake is man-made, with the soil excavated being used to increase the size of 万寿山 longevity hill, on the north side of the lake.

The park is firmly linked in history with the Empress Dowager, who was the true source of power in the late Qing dynasty. She is seen as a corrupt figure who prevented China from taking the necessary steps to modernize. For example, it is said that she used the budget for building a Chinese navy to built a marble boat on the shores of Kunming Lake. Of course, the boat doesn’t float. It’s simply a place wher you can lounge about and enjoy the scenery. Several years later after this boat was built, China again found herself unable to defend against foreign aggression.

There is a central building wher the emperor would deal with state business while residing at the summer palace. It is said, however, that the Empress dowager would sit behind a screen right behind the emperor, so that she could tell him what to do.

Besides the lake and the marble boat, one of the most interesting sites at the Summer Palace is the 700 m long covered walkway called the 长廊 that is mentioned in the dialogue. There is also a beautiful stone bridge called the 十七孔桥 17-span bridge that links the main island to the shore. Near the bridge you will find a beautiful bronze ox who seems to be leisurly enjoying the scenery as well. If you are in Beijing for more than just a day or two, this is definitely a site worth seeing.

Substitution and Extension

1)由……组成 be made up of


This tour group is made up of tourists from three countries.


This school is comprised of five colleges.

2)不知……才好 to not know what to do


He doesn't understand what I mean. I really don't know what to say.


He lost his cell phone. He was so anxious that he didn't know what to do.

3)固然…不过… admitting A, but B


Work is important, but we have to pay attention to rest.


Exercise is good for your health but it must be done appropriately.