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May 27, 2014

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Home » Metro » Entertainment and Culture

Dismantled ‘Chin Woo’ buildings to be rebuilt

FOUR dilapidated buildings in Yangpu District with possible links to the Chin Woo Athletic Association have been dismantled, but will be rebuilt on the same site later this year, cultural heritage officials said yesterday.

The structures — three villas and a Spanish-style building that some people claim were once home to the association founded by Chinese martial arts master Huo Yuanjia — date back about 100 years and had fallen into disrepair.

Local authorities had planned to demolish them in 2011, but the project was canceled after the public appealed for them to be saved. Despite the reprieve, the buildings were not given protected status as no one could prove they were owned by the association.

Huo (1869-1910) became a national hero after achieving international success as a kung fu fighter. His life story was told in the 2006 movie “Fearless,” starring Jet Li.

Huo established Chin Woo just months before he died. It was one of the first public institutes for the previously arcane martial arts.

According to Xue Liyong, an expert on old Shanghai, the four buildings date from 1916 and were likely the second center for the association after Huo’s death in 1910.

The original headquarters were destroyed by a typhoon in 1915, he said.

Despite their poor condition, the buildings had many attractive architectural details, including Gothic doors with glass windows.

Regardless of the provenance, an official from the Shanghai Cultural Heritage Administration said the buildings will not be demolished, as the century-old structures “deserve protection.”


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