kilometers) of 3-lane highway across the Tsing Ma Bridge (the world’s longest road-rail suspension bridge) provide alternative routes between the airport and Kowloon and further through the new Western Tunnel to Hong Kong Island and the central business district. The scheme also includes a new town for 150,000 people, because height restrictions, so necessary for Kai Tak Airport, have now been lifted. And, of course, the 2,350-acre (940-hectare) Kai Tak site became free for redevelopment. Plans are in hand for mixed commercial and recreational uses among residential towers accommodating 300,000 people. Work should be completed by 2003.

Ch’in Shi Huangdi’s tomb

X’ian, China

In 1974, peasants digging a well in a field about 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of X’ian unearthed pits containing thousands of life-size, carefully detailed terra-cotta warriors, horses, and chariots. The soldiers were poised to defend the tomb of Ch’in Shi Huangdi (259–210 b.c.). Among the greatest archeological finds of the twentieth century, the ceramic army is but a small part of the great funerary monument—a necropolis with huge underground rooms around a gigantic burial mound—that the despotic ruler commissioned for himself many years before his death. The imperial tomb itself has not yet been uncovered.

In 246 b.c., when he was thirteen years old, Ying Zheng ascended the throne of Ch’in, the strongest of China’s seven surviving territories. Unifying the divided states into a single nation, in 221 b.c., he took the title Ch’in Shi Huangdi (literally “Ch’in, the First Emperor”). Great changes ensued in his short, tyrannical reign. The feudal system was abolished, and China was divided into about forty provinces, all controlled by a centralized bureaucracy. To ensure its efficiency over such a vast area, Ch’in Shi Huangdi commissioned the construction of over 6,000 miles (10,000 kilometers) of roads and more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) of canals, which also served for irrigation and flood mitigation. Southward, his empire extended to Vietnam’s Red River Delta, encompassing most of what are now Yunnan, Guizhou, and Sichuan Provinces; to the north, it reached as far as Lanzhou in Gansu Province and into parts of modern Korea. To defend his domain against nomad incursions, the first emperor commissioned the building of the Great Wall of China. He also initiated census taking, as well as the compulsory standardization of currency, weights and measures, writing, and even axle widths. As another means of control, in 213 b.c. he decreed that history and philosophy books, especially those contradicting Ch’in theories, should be burned. His despotism was resented by the common people. The foreign wars, the construction of the Wall, and other extravagant, self-indulgent public works (including his tomb), supported by policies of military conscription, heavy taxation, and forced labor, had imposed a terrible financial and social cost. Toward the end of his life, fearing assassination, Ch’in Shi Huangdi became reclusive. He died in 210 b.c., and his empire collapsed. After eight years of widespread rebellions, Liu Pang founded the Han dynasty.

The first-century-b.c. historian Sima Qian described Ch’in Shi Huangdi’s tomb as a microcosm of the universe. Ironically, the first emperor’s obsessive quest for an elixir of life had probably caused his madness and death; he had ingested mercury as a means to immortality. Because it was intended to serve as Ch’in Shi Huangdi’s capital in the afterlife, the necropolis has many of the elements of a living city: encircling walls, parks and gardens, buildings for officials and the army, cemetery walls, and, of course, a palace. It was built mainly underground by (according to historical records) a labor force of 700,000 conscripts from all over China, over a period of thirty-six years. The 7,500-strong terra-cotta army stood guard in three vaults, about 0.75 mile (1.2 kilometers) to the east. Their weapons were looted, possibly during the uprising after Ch’in Shi Huangdi’s death. The tomb complex proper, oriented perfectly to the cardinal points of the compass, was surrounded by a 65-foot-high (20-meter) wall that enclosed the rectangular imperial tomb gardens, covering an area of about 1.3 by 0.6 miles (2.17 by 0.97 kilometers), In the center of the precinct stood the building in which funerary rituals were performed. Close to it on one side were three blocks housing the