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Imperial mausoleum guardians persist in their duties in modern era

10-11-2011 17:00 BJT

SHIJIAZHUANG, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- For generations, residents in a cluster of villages in Hebei province had been government officials, until their privileges were stripped by the Xinhai Revolution, which marked its centennial on Monday.

Yet in the last 100 years, these residents persisted in at least one ancient duty -- guarding the imperial mausoleum of China's last dynasty.

In the county of Yixian, descendants of mausoleum guardians continue to live in villages near the Qingxi Mausoleum (western mausoleum of the Qing Dynasty), where four emperors were buried.

Almost every guardian traces their ancestry back to the elite clans of Qing Dynasty, while some are relatives of the Qing Monarchy. Although the Xinhai Revolution toppled the Qing Dynasty, the mission of guarding mausoleum never ceased.

Na Fengying is a modern mausoleum guardian. Working in the administrative office of the Qingxi Mausoleum, she spent almost 20 years studying the history of the mausoleum and exploring methods of antique protection. She has published several books about her research and the Qingxi Mausoleum.

For those who don't work in the mausoleum's administrative office, their life is still closely connected to it.

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