Chairman Mao's Underground City In 1969, Chairman Mao commanded the construction of a second Beijing beneath the surface of the original city, designed to accommodate all six million of its then inhabitants, so that if nuclear war did kick off, folk would still have somewhere to hang out and play Mah Jong while the rest of us burnt to death in a shower of atomic rain. War never came, but the city is still there. To be fair to the crazy Chairman, by that time he was lost in the midst of those closing dark days of China’s brutal cultural revolution and the onset of motor neurone disease had shifted his ongoing descent into madness up to warp speed. No one really knows how much of the subterranean nuclear metropolis was actually completed, or just how far the network of underground tunnels and caverns was due to be extended, though it’s generally believed they connected up with all of Beijing’s main hubs and governmental locations, including Tiananmen Square, Beijing’s Central Station and the Western Hills.
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