During the Cold War, relations between China and the Soviet Union had almost boiled over, and the possibility of the use of nuclear weapons seemed more than a possibility. In the face of continuing danger, Communist leader Mao Zedong called for the construction of several underground facilities to protect the country’s population and military stronghold. One of the most famous is the underground city of Beijing, but the lesser known project is 131.
Located 50 miles from Wuhan, the tunnels are 456 meters from Hubei Province.
On January 31, 1969, a decision was made to build an underground command headquarters, codenamed “131”.
Gen. Huang Yongcheng, commander-in-chief of the People’s Liberation Army’s civil service, was put in charge of the project and work began.
Tunnels with meeting rooms, offices for high commanders and communication centers were set up, built under a hill in the area, and villas for Mao Zedong and his second-in-command Lin Piao were set above the surface.
Doomsday tunnels were built during the Cold War
The mines are about 50 miles from Wuhan
But two years later everything fell apart.
Allegations arose of a conspiracy led by Lin Piao to overthrow the Chinese leader, and General Yongcheng, who was considered part of it, was arrested.
The plan was shelved because Piao was later killed in a plane crash and General Yongsheng was in prison.
The underground facility was never fully completed and, thankfully, it did not have to be.
It was deserted and unused for a decade before local authorities decided to turn it into a tourist feature.
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They are more than 450 meters high
Today, the mines are open to the public.
Above the grounds, the site houses a hotel, a conference facility, a museum of the Mao era and a garden.
Visitors are allowed to walk around most of the empty basement rooms, although some areas are still unlimited.
However, the mines are still considered a military project and are therefore closed to non-Chinese visitors.
There has been a lot of information recently about Beijing’s underground tunnel Dixia Cheng.
No official information has been released on the total size of the complex, but it is believed to have an area of more than 31 square miles and is connected to all the major government buildings in the city.
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They were built during the sixties
A communication center within the mines
Tensions escalated all the time with the Sino-Soviet border conflict in 1969, when an undeclared military confrontation tested the will of both countries.
Until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, relations between the two remained in a delicate balance.
The underground city was dug by hand by ordinary people as a large refuge in the capital, many of whom were only fitted with shrines and carried everything in bamboo baskets.
President Mao instructed his citizens to “dig deep tunnels, store food, and prepare for war,” so about 300,000 civilians went to work.
They are now open to the public
Under the guidance of military engineers, Beijing built a vast tunnel network of about 10,000 nuclear bunkers, as well as restaurants, theaters, warehouses, factories, farms, sports facilities and everything a community needs to escape a nuclear war.
The government boasted that even air circulation could be cut off from the outside world, and by some accounts could bring the total population of central Beijing – about six million in 1969.
Dixia Cheng was never used for its intended purpose, so, in the eighties, many divisions were handed over to neighboring authorities, which were converted into offices and shops.