This gray Gothic structure has endured a torrid history. Built on ground donated by the Shunzhi emperor in 1655, this Jesuit church was toppled by an earthquake in 1720, then gutted by fire in 1812, after which it was leveled by an increasingly anti-foreign regime. It was rebuilt after foreigners forced their way into Beijing in 1860, and was razed again during the Boxer Rebellion of 1900. Chinese Christians were the first targets of the xenophobic Boxers, who disparagingly referred to them as "lesser hairy ones." Local converts were slaughtered in the hundreds before the Boxers (who also murdered women with unbound feet) worked up the courage to kill a real foreigner. Yet they are usually portrayed as a "patriotic" movement in China's history books. After a major renovation in 2000, Dong Tang is notable for its wide, tree-lined forecourt, a favorite spot for Beijing's skateboarders. Its counterpart in the south of town, Nan Tang (South Church) is just northeast of the Xuanwu Men metro stop, and has services in English. Call tel. 010/6603-7139 to check times. Note: Catholic churches in Beijing are not recognized by the Roman Catholic Church.
- © Frommer's 2013
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Ask Beijing Locals about Dong Tang (East Church or St. Joseph's Cathedral)
- tel: 010/6524-0634
- Wangfujing Dajie 74
- Dong Cheng Qu (walk north for 10 min.)
- Sunday services in Latin at 6:15 and Chinese at 7 and 8am
- No Sweat
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