Huaqing Hot Spring
Huaqing Hot Spring is situated about 25 kilometers away in the northeast of Xian.
Random photo: Impressions of China
Huaqing Hot Spring 华清池 was a former Winter resort for emperors. Its natural beauty and many historical episodes connected with this spot are the attractions. Emperor You of the Western Zhou Dynasty (8th century BC) was the first to take a liking of the place and build a palace here for himself. Emperors of 11 dynasties followed his example. The place did not gain national fame until 747, when Emperor Xuan Zong (685-762, reigned 712-756) of the Tang Dynasty extended the palaces and built Huaqing Hot Pool, using water from the natural hot springs, hence the name Huaqing Hot Spring.
The resort is located at the foot of the Mount Lishan. Several big Chinese characters are carved on the cliffs indicating the source of the hot springs. Just below the sign is a steaming pool surrounded by green balustrades. These hot springs were founded 3,000 years ago. They have a voluminous, regular flow and a constant temperature of around 43℃ or 109.4℃. The water contains various minerals, which make it suitable for medication and bathing as well.
When the tourist enters the park area through a moon gate and comes upon the artificial Nine Dragons Lake. Even in Winter the trees here grow luxuriantly. Nestled among the willows by the lakeside are dainty buildings topped by golden glazed tiles. At its southern end, the lake is linked to Lotus Pond into which crystal clear water pours from the nine dragon head spouts in the wall. North of the lake is a hall built in traditional Chinese style, with upturned eaves shaped like a prostrate dragon. A phoenix cast in bronze stands in front of the porch.
The Tang Emperor Xuan Zong (685-762, reigned 712-756) spent his winters at this hall with his favourite concubine Yang Guifei (719-756). Close by is Huaqing Pool, the bathing pool of the beautiful Yang Guifei. It is housed in an inner room and built in the shape of lotus petals, In an outer room adjoining the pool is a soft bed and a painting of the imperial concubine emerging from her bath. The room has been refurbished.
At present, Huaqing Pool is a recreational center open to the public, with all the old imperil halls, and pavilions renovated. Over a hundred new bathing pools have been added to accommodate more people at a time.
Xi’an Incident 西安事变
Another attraction of Huaqing Pool is a hillside pavilion where Chiang Kai-shek (1887-1975) was arrested in the famous Xi’an Incident西安事变of 1936. Early in 1936, the Young Marshal, Zhang Xueliang (1901-2001) quietly instructed his troops on the frontier to stop shooting at red guerrillas. He had reached the conclusion that most of China’s Communists were driver into the arms of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) by the degradation of the country at the hands of Chiang Kai-shek and the foreign powers. Chinese, he decided, should no longer fight Chinese while foreign invaders were ravishing the nation. That June he met privately with Zhou Enlai (1898-1976) to See if they could put aside differences and develop a joint strategy. He came away with his conviction reaffirmed that the answer laid in a united front. He was good to his word. All military action halted, liaison was set up between their two headquarters, and bureaus of the National Salvation League were organized throughout Northwestern China. Realizing the northwestern command was unreliable, at a time when his latest “Communist annihilation” was about to begin. Chiang Kai-shek decided to fly to the Young Marshal’s headquarters in Xi’an, and bully him into line. When Chiang Kai-shek arrived, the Young Marshal told Chiang Kai-shek that his anti-red campaign should be scrapped and a united front formed with Mao Zedong (1893-1976). The time had come for a patriotic war, not a civil war. Chiang Kai-shek hotly rejected the argument and stormed off to his field headquarters at Luoyang 392 kilometers away. When the Young Marshal followed him to argue further,, he was rebuked angrily. On December 4, 1936, Chiang Kai-shek returned to Xi’an to announce that he was going ahead with the annihilation campaign, to begin on December 12. A new commander would lead the offensive, and the Young Marshal was to be transferred to South China with all his soldiers and his follow collaborator, the northwestern territory strongman, General Yang Hucheng (1892-1949). The two generals tried to reason with Chiang Kai-shek, but he grew hysterical, slammed the door, and drove off with his bodyguards to the Tang-dynasty hot springs resort by the Lishan Hills 20 kilometers north. The Young Marshal and Yang Hucheng were now in deep jeopardy. If they did nothing, their cause was lost and they would be sent south and rendered impotent. It was Yang Hcheng who came up with the solution. He had suggested it weeks earlier: “We can hold the emperor (meaning Chiang Kai-shek) hostage, to demand submission of all the feudal princes in the realm.” Chiang Kai-shek was in the habit of rising before dawn, leaving his full set of false teeth on the bedside table, and standing for an hour before the window in his nightshirt. The pavilion was protected by fifty bodyguards, headed by an officer who was a notorious student killer. At 5:30 on the morning of December 12—the day the new annihilation campaign was to begin—Chiang Kai-shek was staring out the back window of his bedroom at the mountain beyond the garden wall. In the darkness, four trucks loaded with 120 soldiers rumbled to a halt at the gates. The battalion commander in the lead truck demanded that the gates be opened. The sentries turned down. The men in the trucks opened fire. Chiang Kai’shek was startled by the shots. He wondered if there had been a mutiny inspired by the Communists. When the shooting intensified, followed by shouts and the sounds of forced entry, three aides burst into his room urging him to flee. Forgetting his dentures, Chiang Kai-shek hiked up his nightshirt and sprinted for the back door, followed by his aides. They boosted him too forcefully up the garden wall and he fell down the other side, twisting his spine and spraining his ankle. The hillside was rocky, sparsely covered with thorny scrub. There was no place to hide. Chiang Kai-shek scuttled up the slope, his feet pierced by thorns. His ankle could barely support him, and his back was causing him severe pain. In the pavilion, the coup proceeded. One by one bodyguards were shot to death and rooms were searched for Chiang Kai-shek. When it was certain that he had fled, the hated student killer was dragged out, driven 20 kilometers to Xi’an, and crucified on the city gates. There was no question that Chiang Kai-shek must have fled up the hill. The mountain was completely surrounded. Twice the battalion spread out, and twice they failed to find him. Back in his room, they found his teeth, his diary, and some documents. It was not until nearly four hours later, at 9 am, that a squad on the hillside discovered a shallow cave behind a boulder called Tiger Rock. Inside, Chiang Kai-shek was making himself as flat as possible against the rock. He was cold, exhausted, and in pain. A soldier hitched him up piggyback, and they all took turns carrying him down the hill. A car was waiting. They drove him to the new city hall, where strongman Yang Hucheng had his headquarters.
At that time the Japanese imperialists were intensifying their invasion of China. Chiang Kai-shek insisted on waging a civil war instead of fighting the Japanese invaders. In December 1936, he flew to Xi’an to plan his military campaign against Yan’an, the then center of China’s revolution. From his resort suite at Huaqing Pool he ordered the suppression of a 10,000-strong patriotic student demonstration. Zhang Xueliang and Yang Hucheng, two of his generals, were reluctant to carry out his orders and tried to persuade Chiang Kai-shek to accept the proposal of forming a national united front for resistance against Japan. When that failed, they decided to arrest him.
More About Xian
- Huaqing Hot Spring
is situated about 25 kilometers away in the northeast of Xian.
- Terracotta Warriors
And The Mausoleum Of Emperor Qin Shihuang.
- Xian Scenic Spots
Xian Is Full Of Scenic Spots.
- Xian Steles Museum
The , which used to be a holy temple of Confucius, is now a tranquil place in typical Chinese style.