100: Longhua Temple
The Chinese name of this temple means ‘lustre of the dragon”. In 1927, the Kuomintang government executed suspected Communists at this site, who are memorialized next door at the Longhua Martyr’s Cemetery #101. In this area was a large Japanese civilian internment camp at which British writer J. G. Ballard was held as a child. There was also an airstrip, which the Japanese used for bombing raids over the city. Perhaps the most well-known element of the temple complex is the pagoda adjacent to the main entrance. In Steven Spielberg’s film Empire of the Sun, the Japanese military are seen using this pagoda to mount their machine guns on. Today Longhua remains an active Buddhist temple, with hundreds of visitors coming daily to pray and burn offerings.