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October 16, 2013

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‘Rented out’ Taiping cemetery set to be restored

A CEMETERY containing the remains of soldiers of the mid-19th century Taiping Heavenly Kingdom revolution that was illegally rented out to a textile business is to be restored.

Local cultural heritage authorities say they will open the 600-square-meter Cemetery of the Taiping Revolution Martyrs in Gaoqiao Town in the Pudong  New Area to the public.

“The cemetery is undergoing a major renovation and will open to the public by the end of the year,” said an official surnamed Chen with the Gaoqiao Town Old Street Management Co, under the township government.

The courtyard cemetery was created by farmers 150 years ago for Taiping Heavenly Kingdom troops who fell in a nearby battle and is a city-level protected cultural heritage site.

The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom (1850-1864) rebelled against the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and in the Shanghai battle fought a joint force of Qing troops and Western countries’ forces invited by the government to put down the rebellion

The local cultural heritage management committee repaired the cemetery in 1954 and rebuilt it in 1984.

But in recent years the Caogaozhi Road cemetery became derelict and was illegally let.

Chen said a staffer sent to manage the cemetery “rented” a house by the plot to textile businessmen three years ago.

The official said the manager took the advantage of the fact that the cemetery was in a remote area to rent it out. Chen said he would be punished and the tenants told to leave.

Nearby residents reported the company recently, complaining about their premises, he said.

Footage showed a tent for storing goods in the rubbish-strewn cemetery, while clothes and quilts were hung across the yard.

A nearby house had placards advertising cashmere and mink clothes, while textiles were on display inside.

A waste recycling shop was opened beside the textile shop.

But this is soon to change, vowed Chen. “The cemetery will be restored to its historic look,” insisted the official.



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