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February 14, 2011

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Home » Metro » Entertainment and Culture

155 homes of famous at risk

THE historically important homes of more than 155 famous residents from Shanghai's past are afforded no protection, a survey by a top city advisory body has discovered.

Former occupants include famous politicians, entrepreneurs, academics, artists and writers who lived in the city, mainly in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Lax regulations and lack of money affect the maintenance of numerous historic buildings, said the report.

"Many old residences deserve protection which they do not enjoy now," said survey leader Zhu Minyan, a deputy director with the culture and history committee of the Shanghai Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

The survey, which began in 2009 and covers the city's 11 districts and one county, catalogued 354 former residences of famous people. Some 199 are on the protected list, but the remaining 155 are not.

"Leaving these structures to fall into disrepair or even be demolished is a huge loss," said Zhu.

The report records the case of the downtown Huangpu District home of Lu Bohong, a famous entrepreneur the in early 1900s. It combines the traditional structure of Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) with western style. But the building is in a poor state of repair with windows broken and paintwork faded.

It also notes that the former home of Fu Lei, a translator famous for introducing the work of French author Balzac to China, has been partly destroyed.

Some 14 of its 31 rooms have been demolished by locals in the Pudong New Area.

The committee members have called for extra funding and protection standards to be formalized.

However, Yu Sijia, chief engineer with city house management authority, said the definition on celebrity residences "may cause problems."

In its history, Shanghai has seen many famous people coming and going.

"Which homes deserve protection and which do not is contentious," said Yu.

Yu added that research work is being undertaken to find more buildings that qualify for protection.


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