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Translation of name[edit]

The characters 天安门 do literally mean 'heaven', 'peace', 'gate', so the customary English translation "Gate of Heavenly Peace" is straightforward, and not "poetic" at all. Previously the page said that the name literally meant "The Gate Ensuring The Imperial Status Quo". That's just not true, though charitably, perhaps someone isn't understanding what "literally" means. Perhaps the "status quo" translation is a correct interpretation in the Chinese cultural context, especially if "heaven" is equated with the emperor; but I can't find an on-line source which gives this explanation of the name, and I think departing from what other references say should require some sourcing. Zompist 02:59, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

I essentially agree; I wanted to put in some discussion about the names of the gates, as the translations ARE poetic - as in they are literal translations of poetic Chinese. However - I struggled to get rid of that damn word "literally" - as it doesn't appear in the edit box. In the end I couldn't figure out how to eliminate it, so gave up and compromised. But I'll have another go.

Wa-hey - managed it. In terms of sourcing, any decent Classical Chinese dictionary will bear this out. --

Cool, I think it's a very good section now.Zompist 06:34, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

Cheers -

I have added some information, which throws new light on the meaning of Tian'anmen. We should keep in mind that it was the Manchu conquerors who gave the gate its present name, so the meaning of Tian'anmen cannot be understood in a purely Chinese context. The Manchu name means "Gate of Heavenly Peacemaking", which is also a possible translation of the Chinese name. I hope this will give some closure to the discussion. Niohe 21:58, 24 August 2006 (UTC)


The article lacks even a single word about the 1989 protests; they're what ~99% of people coming to this article are looking for.

I added a direct link. To conform with the NPOV, I used both the anti-government and pro-government label; the dichotomy between them speaks loud enough.

made an npov edit. and a person looking for a protest should be going to Tiananmen Square, if anything. --Sumple (Talk) 23:53, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
this post is so laughable that I am responding to it. to conform with non-ignorance, don't bring this topic up when anyone referring to any protest in the vicinity says square, not just Tiananmen. --- 华钢琴49 (TALK) 02:56, 20 June 2010 (UTC)


The correct spelling in Hanyu Pinyin is Tian'anmen, to ensure correct separation of the (otherwise ambiguous) characters. So Tiananmen should redirect to Tian'anmen and not the other way around.Wsbhopkin 15:51, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

This is the ENGLISH wikipedia, not Chinese pinyin. The common English spelling is Tiananmen. Hanyu pinyin is a Chinese phonetic alphabet that should not be confused with English spelling. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:19, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

Why is it Tian'anmen? There is no ambiguity, since "Tia" is not a valid syllable in Mandarin. The only possible syllabic separation is Tian-an-men (Tia-nan-men being invalid), so the division mark is superfluous. --Sumple (Talk) 07:26, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
But that is not apparently how apostrophes work in hanyu pinyin. Although the rationale for the use of the apostrophe is to dispel ambiguities in the separation of syllables, the rules are designed to make its application straightforward. According to this site the rule simply says that syllables beginning with a vowel take an apostrophe when joined to a previous syllable. This makes the rule very simple and (at the cost of apparently superfluous uses, like this one) effectively prevents ambiguities. So, bǎo'ān (保安) or piān'ài (偏愛) appear with an apostrophe in Chinese dictionaries, even though, just as in Tian'anmen, no ambiguity can happen. Similarly, it is incorrect to use apostrophes in names like Hunan, Henan, Jinan and so on. Only if the last syllable was "an" would the apostrophe be used. I think the problem with current Wikipedia usage is that the clumsy rules mentioned in Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Chinese) are based on the guidelines of the US Library of Congress, which are not very clear (our naming convention even encourages users to do Google searches to figure out whether an apostrophe is required!). As for the rule I cited from the website, it seems to come from the book Chinese Romanization. Pronunciation and Orthography (汉语拼音和正词法), by Yin Binyong and Mary Felley, and published by Sinolingua (Beijing) in 1990. That seems to be a much more authoritative source than a US institution. This is something I mentioned (under my old user name) nearly one year ago on the talk page of the naming conventions guidelines, but nobody paid much attention, so in the end I didn't change it. But I still think it would be good to change the apostrophes section of the naming conventions, and to move all the "Tiananmen (...)" pages to "Tian'anmen (...)". Gelo 16:41, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree. The first thing I noticed on this page is the spelling. After all, Tia-nan-men is readable, thus should not be correct. More information is on the pinyin page, which indicates the current spelling is incorrect. Also notice, I typed in "Tian'anmen" and wikipedia automatically redirected me to the "Tiananmen" pages. Since "Tian'anmen" is the correct spelling, the order should be reversed. And wow, that's a long time since this topic is last mentioned. Kniito 07:23, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
That's true, but "Tiananmen" is almost invariably used in English sources, so Wikipedia:Common names kicks in. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 23:49, 27 August 2007 (UTC)


Interestingly, the proclamation of the People's Republic of China on Tiananmen after the civil war can be taken symbolically as the Chinese Communist Party "receiving the mandate from heaven, and stabilizing the dynasty (Chinese society)." (受命于天,安邦治國)-- 07:36, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

That sounds a bit speculative and I will remove this from the article unless there are any good reasons to keep it.--Niohe 15:40, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Translation, Act II[edit]

I hardly understand ancient Chinese (gu wen), but I have a feeling that 受命于天,安邦治國 can be better translated than "receiving the mandate from heaven, and stabilizing the dynasty." In particular, I think the second part actually means "pacify borders and govern country". Can someone more knowledgeable give their opinion? Xiner 16:58, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

I somehow fail to see what changing the translation would add to the article. You should be careful not to mix up the modern meanings of there characters with how they were used during the Qing dynasty. For instance, the terms bang and guo can both refer to "country" and "dynasty".--Niohe 00:07, 9 December 2006 (UTC)


The following recently added content is a direct translation of this article, already quoted as a reference and summarised in the History section.

I have moved it from the article on the grounds that it is too long, not in summary article, and as a direct and full translation of the source material could be copyvio, or if not, belongs in Wikisources. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 23:42, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

Moved content


The current Tiananmen is the fourth generation gatehouse that was built in 112 days during Cultural Revolution, with the internal structure completely changed to accommodate modern facilities and equipments.


Tiananmen was not properly maintained since its the completion of its third reconstruction and after the establishment of the People's Republic of China, maintenance efforts proved to be too late because the gatehouse suffered unrepairable damage. With the strong earthquakes in Xingtai ranged from 6 to 7.5 magnitudes in 1969, the building was damaged further and was about to collapse, so by the end of 1969, the State Council of the People's Republic of China decided to rebuild Tiananmen gatehouse at the same site, on the same scale and in the same architectural style.

Due to the level of difficulty, someone suggested to hire foreign companies to perform the task, and it would take at least two years, and as many as five years. The suggestion was obviously rejected and Chinese premier Zhou Enlai ordered the project must be completed indigenously and [Beijing]] 5th Architectural Engineering Company was assigned to perform the task, with much shortened construction time requirement. Furthermore, since the project was a political one, it was kept in the strict secrecy and even the close relatives of those involved in the work were prohibited from knowing anything. The project was officially called a renovation and to be performed under the complete cover of scaffolding.


After Chinese premier Zhou Enlai personally approved the project, a team to oversee the project was formed under the name "Tiananmen Gatehouse Reconstruction Leadership team" with members of a various Chinese governmental establishments, including the Ministry of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army, Beijing Garrison District, and Beijing Revolutionary Committee. Mao Zedong instructed the reconstruction must be in the original form, and the original size must not be changed.

In order to complete the political project, [Beijing]] 5th Architectural Engineering Company provided its best crew and formed a total of five teams: carpentry team, bricklaying team, painting team, scaffolding team and combined team. The work was militarized, and Mr. Yao Laiquan (姚来泉), a thirty-something carpentry team leader became the one took charge for most of the work in the field.


The reconstruction formally begun on December 15, 1969. In order to cover up the entire gatehouse, scaffolding was needed. However, using steel pipes would take at least a month. The construction crew adopted the traditional Chinese technique by using bundles of logs from fir trees, and the covered the scaffolding with reed mats, resulting in completing the covered scaffolding in just eight days.

Detailed measurements of the gatehouse had to be taken before the complete demolishing the building. Mr. Yao Laiquan (姚来泉), the team leader of the carpentry team with over twenty years of experience, was tasked to help the staff of the Metrology Bureau. Everyone was order to keep silent about their work, and the security measures appeared to be working: Even staffs working at the nearby Cultural Palace and Zhongshan Park next to Tiananmen gatehouse were unaware of the

Fortune box[edit]

With the exception of its base which utilized bricks and wood, the previous three generations of the gatehouse were all wooden structures with glazed tiles on the roof. The glazed ridge tile each sized 60 cm x 80 cm, and required three people to lift. There was a total of 91 glazed ridge tiles on the roof of the gatehouse.

The glazed roof tile in the center differs from the rest of 90 glazed roof ridges in that it was hollow inside. As Mr. Yao Laiquan (姚来泉) crack it open under order, a gold filigreed Phoebe nanmu box with a picture of dragon and phoenix engraved on the cover appeared. The 30 cm size contained the traditional symbols of fortune: Five grains (including sorghum, proso millet, corn, yellow and black soybean), a golden ingot, and a thumb-sized ruby, and cinnabar. All of these became governmental properties.

During the reconstruction, in the exact place where the fortune box was discovered, a white marble 17 cm long, 12 cm wide, and 3 cm thick was placed instead. The phrase:"1970 January - March" was engraved on the white marble. Mr. Yao Laiquan (姚来泉) was tasked to place the marble.


The original gatehouse was supported by more than five dozens pillars each was 12 metre tall, and each weighed at least 7 tons. The diameter of the largest pillar was 1.2 metre and the diameter of the smallest pillar was 0.6 metre. Replacement lumbers were originally found in Hainan and Sipsonpanna, but to the inadequate transportation, lumbers for replacement was later imported from Gabon and Borneo.

Pillars and all other wooden components were manufactured by Beijing Guanghua (光华) Timber Mill, and all had been treated to resist corrosion, termites, and fire.

Artillery shells[edit]

During the demolition of western gable, a worker found a 95 mm round artillery shell that was 45 cm long. Police was immediately alerted and the artillery shell and construction materials next to the shell were taken away for research. Eventually six more identical shells were discovered and removed.

Due to the political situation in China at the time, the discovery of the artillery shells was kept a secrecy and remain a secrete until this day.

Wooden structure[edit]

Every wooden components removed during the demolition was kept for duplication. However, there was rarely any nails in the large wooden gatehouse structure due to the Chinese traditional construction technique used in the original construction.

To solve the problem, an area was sealed off in the Zhongshan Park next to Tiananmen, and a tower crane was deployed in the sealed off area. An entire section of the southwestern corner of the gatehouse was lifted to the area, and disassembled piece by piece. The disassembled pieces were then put together to the original form but the efforts failed for several times.

Finally, Beijing Architectural Design Academy was enlisted to help and every piece was photographed, numbered, with an associated drawing produced by the staff of the academy. Furthermore, the exact location of the piece was also recorded in detail. Based on the information, workers attempted to reassemble the section for several times until they finally understood the design completely and thus was able to replicate the Chinese traditional construction technique.

Wooden components[edit]

Every wooden component was manufactured by the Beijing Guanghua (光华) Timber Mill according to the detailed drawing of every individual components produced by the Beijing Architectural Design Academy. However, despite carefulness, there was an error:

There was a two-centimeter long hole in one of the wooden pillar and this was not discovered until later. If the pillar was to be replaced, the project had to be stopped and several hundred people would have to wait, an unacceptable situation. Zhou Enlai personally approved an alternative: drill another five-centimeter long hole connecting the two-centimeter long hole and fill it up with chemicals. This alternative enabled the work to continue according to the original schedule.

imperial roof decoration[edit]

Original imperial roof decorations were dragons, but in the political turmoil of Cultural Revolution, there was a suggestion replacing the dragon with sunflower in the reconstruction, symbolizing everyone following the red sun, Mao Zedong. Zhong Enlai vetoed the suggestion by claiming that dragons were the symbol of China and Chinese people, and the original style should not be changed.

However, under the strong opposition from Jiang Qing's camp, a compromise had to be reached: the smaller dragon figures were replaced by passion flower figures, and it was not until the next major renovation in 1984, did the the passion flower figures were changed back to dragon figures.

Window lattice[edit]

The window lattice for traditional Chinese windows proved to be major headache for the reconstruction project because traditionally, it was purely done by hands. However, the complex patterns meant that this was a painfully long process and if repeated, the original planned schedule could not be met.

The problem was finally solved when a machinery system to specially manufacture the window lattice of the Chinese traditional windows was successfully developed after numerous attempts, and in comparison to the traditional hand-built process, the efficiency had increased over 150 times, ensuring the successful completion on schedule. In addition, the quality was also greatly improved.


The traditional method of paint was painful long, requiring a total of thirteen processes. In addition, some portion of the building required another step: applying gold foils, and this last step must also be completed by hands.

All golden foils were imported and a total of six kilograms of gold was used in the reconstruction.

Roof tiles[edit]

Glazed roof tiles were the bulk of non-wooden components. A total of more than a hundred types of wooden roof tiles were manufactured with the total number of pieces exceeding a hundred thousand. A half a meter thick cement wall was added to the outermost layer of the building.

Due to the fact that the building had sunk considerably in several hundred years, an extra layer of bricks were added at the base, and along with other measures, the gatehouse was raised 87 cm to its original height.

Modern components[edit]

Additional modern system and components were incorporated, such as using cement as construction material to replace bricks and mud. Other modern systems were also added, including:

Water supply system, drainage system, electrical power system, lighting system, communication systems, broadcasting system, elevators, and heating system. The placards were replaced by new ones made of fiberglass with iron frame.


When the reconstruction had completed, a team of nine experts armed with mine detectors was dispatched to perform inspection. At a place without any records of using nails, the mine detectors went off. After demolition, it was revealed that a shovel was left inside by accident.

The only other place where mine detectors had gone off was the cement floor. However, demolition revealed that there was no metals. When the samples of the crushed cement was sent to the laboratory, analysis revealed that the cement used for the floor had usually and extremely high iron content.


The reconstructed gatehouse was design to with stand 9.0 magnitude earthquake and a total of 216 establishments and enterprises worked on the project. At its peak, over 2,700 worked on the project, which was finally completed on March 7, 1970, 112 days after the work begun on December 15, 1969.

Mr. Yao Laiquan (姚来泉) kept a Reconstruction Memorabilia at his home until this day: a framed gilding instructions written by Mao Zedong: Design carefully, work carefully, during the construction process, there must be many errors, failure, make correction at all times.

End moved content --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 23:43, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

Translation of Right Placard[edit]

I wanted to justify the edit I made to the translation of the right placard from "Long Live the Unity of the World's Peoples" to "Long Live the Proletarian Revolution" which has since been reverted.

The phrase [世界人民大团结] is a direct translation of the final sentence of Marx's Communist Manifesto, which in the original German reads, "Proletarier aller Länder, vereinigt euch!" , literally in English, "Proletarians of all countries, unite yourselves!" This direct translation of Marx's text into Chinese from the German makes irrelevant both the English translation "Workers of the world, unite!" and the use of the term [劳动人民] to signify "worker."

Since the subject of the cry "Long Live" in English is always a noun, and not a phrase, it seems obvious to me that a placard effectively reading "long live 'Proletarier aller Länder, vereinigt euch!'" would be best translated "Long Live the Proletarian Revolution."

In accordance with the reasoning given above I have restored my translation. I would advise that any who would wish to contest my stance on this point first attempt to familiarize themselves with Marx and the Communist Manifesto in Chinese translation, free texts of which are generally unavailable on the Internet due to DDoS attacks sponsored by the government of the People's Republic of China on sites that attempt to host such texts.

Kalirren (talk) 22:42, 16 April 2009 (UTC)Kalirren

if you know any Chinese, you would know that the 'direct translation' is not accurate. the English words that appear in the placard, in order: "world people great unity". nothing about proletariat (无产阶级 / 無產階級)... besides, isn't the unity of all humans a key tenet of Marxism/Communism? ---华钢琴49 (TALK) 03:01, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

Opening Sentence[edit]

"Northern Section of Tiananmen Square". Who said that? Chang'an Avenue interrupts the two! ---何献龙4993 (talk) 22:06, 28 August 2010 (UTC)


It should be made clear that the lions are effigies, not real. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:41, 6 February 2011 (UTC)