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Saturday, September 13, 2003 - 09:00

A Walk with the Eunuchs

Michael Crook and Ginny Anami

Ginny Anami and Michael Crook will take BIS members on this most unusual outing. We will visit the former eunuch retirement /graveyard village of Changlesi in Fangshan district, which is an interesting walled community with tombs and remnants of an old temple that used to be run by retired eunuchs. Nearby is the pagoda of Yao Guangxiao, the eunuch tutor/priest of Emperor Yongle, the first Ming Emperor to rule from Beijing. We shall also go to the eunuch museum at the Ming dynasty Tian Yi Mu near Fa Hai Si in Shijingshan district. If time permits we will also try to visit the tomb of the infamous eunuch Li Lianying the close advisor of the Empress Dowager Cixi. The bus trip will give us time for discussions and stories about eunuchs and even eunuch trivia games.

Ginny Anami is the wife of the Japanese Ambassador. She has lived in Beijing three times and studies the old sacred sites of the city. She was a BIS committee member in the 1980s and the Vice Chairman of BIS in 1996-97. She has talked to BIS on Buddhist sites of the Liao and Jun Dynasties. Her connection with eunuchs comes from having interviewed the last surviving eunuch just before he passed away. Michael Crook, born and raised in Beijing, is currently a teacher (Chinese Culture) at the Western Academy of Beijing. The changes he has witnessed in Beijing over the past 5 decades arouse in him mixed feelings. He feels that one area that could be improved is the preservation of China's glorious heritage.