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October 14, 2014

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Home » Metro » Society

Soong family home to be opened to public

THE former residence of the Soong family, who were among the most influential figures in early-20th-century China, is to open to the public.

This will come after welfare organization the Shanghai Soong Ching Ling Foundation moves into the two-story mansion, that dates from 1908, at the junction of Shaanxi Rd and Nanyang Road, authorities said yesterday.

The Soong family were major figures in the Republic of China era (1912-1949) and moved into the house in 1918.

The house was home to Charlie Soong his wife Ni Kwei-Tseng and their three daughters and three sons.

Middle sister Soong Ching-ling married Sun Yat-sen, the forerunner of China’s revolution to end feudalism, while youngest sister Soong May-ling married Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek.

Eldest sister Soong Ai-ling married Dr H H Kung, a banker and politician involved in the Kuomintang government.

Their three brothers were all high-ranking officials in the Republic of China government.

The wedding ceremony of Soong May-ling and Chiang Kai-shek was also held in the building.

Soong Ching-ling founded the China Welfare Institute Kindergarten at the address and the house was later managed by the group. It was home to Talitha Gerlach, a consultant of the institute, between 1952 and 1963.

Later it was used as housing, until residents were moved out in the 1990s to better protect the building.

In 2003, it became a venue for charity and welfare group meetings and was listed as a historical building of Shanghai in 2005.

However, up until now its rich history had largely been ignored, the building tucked away without any signs referring to its past.

Yu Liangxin, a political advisor who has been calling for the house to be opened, described this as “a regret.”

While Shaanxi Rd N is home to a cluster of historical buildings, such as the Moller Villa and Grace Church, the old Soong family residence is one of the most brilliant pearls there, and its opening will add glamour to the street, Yu said.

There is no former residence of the Soong family open to the public in China, and the building should be opened, considering its historical and cultural significance, Yu said.

He suggested the house be turned into a center for displaying historical artifacts related to the family.

Authorities said they have talked with the China Welfare Institute over the building’s management and that it will in time open to the public.

The Shanghai Soong Ching Ling Foundation, affiliated to the institute, will move into the house soon and help coordinate work, said officials.

The house is currently being decorated for the move, the foundation said.


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