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April 17, 2013

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Former residence of Soong sisters opens

THE former residence of the Soong sisters, important figures in the history of Shanghai and China, opened to the public with no admission charge yesterday.

The home, which underwent a major renovation, is near the future Shanghai Disneyland in the Pudong New Area.

The two-story courtyard dwelling in Pudong's Chuansha area is the birthplace of Soong Qing-ling, who later married Dr Sun Yat-sen, and Soong May-ling, who married late Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek.

The house also was the residence of other important figures in the 20th century China, including famous scholar Huang Yanpei, chairman of the First and Second Central Committee of the China National Democratic Construction Association.

"The house was the original place of the culture and history of Chuansha and Pudong since it was home to many famous scholars. It will become a new cultural landmark after the opening today," said Xie Yumin, deputy governor of Pudong.

The courtyard of 218 Xinchuan Road was built in 1859 by Shen Shuyong, a court secretary and collector with hundreds of art antiques dating from the Han (206 BC-220 AD) and Tang (618-907 AD) dynasties.

Entering the wooden structure, visitors can see many replicas of art antiques displayed to revive the original environment of the house.

The property was later bought by Charlie Soong, the Soong sisters' father and a missionary-turned-businessman who made a fortune in printing. It was here the Soong sisters spent their childhood. The residence had three courtyards but only one still stands. It is under strict protection. The original wooden wall panels and porcelain vases are carefully preserved.

Hu Shi, the famous Chinese philosopher, diplomat and essayist, and Zhang Wentian, the Chinese revolutionary, also spent their adolescent years in the house.

It is open with no entry fee from 9am to 4pm daily. Reservations are required for groups.


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