Thursday, September 6, 2012
Today, Shanghai Story Walk II ("True Colors") from the book Shanghai Story Walks by Yvette Ho Madany.
This walk is through the former French Concession. After the first Opium War (1842-43), foreigners lived in settlements under foreign jurisdiction. The British settlement was established in 1845, the American in 1848, and the French in 1849. The British and American settlements were combined in 1863 as the International Settlement. The concessions were formally ended in 1943.
The former French Concession was inhabited by mostly Chinese, Russian and French people. Starting on Huashan Road near the Jing'an Station of the Shanghai Metro, you head south, crossing the pedestrian overpass over Yan'an Road.
At Lane 303 there is a relief bust of Cai Yuanpei:
Cai Yuanpei briefly lived at this house in 1937. He later left for Hong Kong where he died. During the Cultural Revolution, the Red Guards took all of Cai's correspondence with Sun Yat-sen. They left letters from the leftist writer Lu Xun, because they were signed with his official name of Zhou Shuren. That way important history was preserved.
Back on Huashan Road, turn left, then left on Julu Road. Walk down to the end of the block near Fumin Road, to Lane 803. Bamboo Alley leads to a Japanese restaurant:
At Lane 637, you see the archway for the Blue Nankeen Gallery:
At Nos. 752-764 Changle Road, there is a row of townhouse villas:
Take a right on Donghu Road to the building on the corner at No. 2 Yanqing Road:
When Du was introduced the the boss at the time, Huang Jinrong, Huang's wife realized Du's potential and made him their assistant. In 1925, Du was made a partner. He employed White Russians as body guards, since they were tall, trained in firearms, and didn't speak Chinese. Du was illiterate but had people read the classics to him. He learned military strategies to deal with politicians. He supported Chiang Kai-shek. In 1949, he left Shanghai to go to Hong Kong where he died.
Back-track to Xinle Road and turn right. Xinle Road is nicknamed Mistress Street because wealthy men are siad to buy clothes for their mistresses here.
At No. 63 there is an apartment building with a vertical window:
No. 55 Xinle Road is the former Russian Orthodox Mission Church:
At No. 82 Xinle Road is the Mansion Hotel:
Now you have to retrace your steps back down Xinle and turn right on Fumin Road. (There must be a more efficient way to do this walk!)
In the triangle space between Fumin, Donghu and Changle Roads, there is a statue of Tian Han:
Turn right on Changle Road to Lane 672:
During the anti-Japanese movement in the 1930s, the Liu theaters would show only Chinese movies. They also decided to produce a movie based on the Qing Dynasty prostitute, Sai Jinhua, who married a German. It was considered a satire of Chiang-Kai-shek, who also sold out to the foreigners. One actress who auditioned for the movie was Lan Ping, who did not get the role. Later she was known as Comrade Jiang Qing, Chairman Mao's wife. It is said that one day in the 1950s, Madam Mao noted that the Liu theaters were still open for business. After that moment, three Liu production company movies were denied the requisite government approval...
At the end of Lane 672, there was a tiny garden:
Pan collected books, mostly from the Song (960-1279) and Yuan (1279-1368) Dynasties. Pan bought many books from Yuan Kewen, a man who loved to party. To fund his lifestyle, Yuan sold his family's collection. (Shanghai Story Walks also tells the story of Yuan's father, Yuan Shikai.) Pan kept his collection in this villa. He died in 1941, and his son feared the Japanese would destroy the collection. The British helped ship the collection to Hong Kong for safe-keeping in the vaults of HSBC. In 1951, the collection was returned, but to the Beijing University where Pan Shizi donated 104 books from the Song Dynasty and 7 books from the Yuan Dynasty. The younger Pan also donated the villa to the government, and it became part of a hospital. There is more to the story of Pan Shizi as well as of St John's University in Shanghai where he was president.
No. 536 Changle Road, the Shanghai First Maternity and Infants Hospital:
Farther on Changle Road is Lane 197:
At the corner of Changle and Maoming Roads is the Lyceum Theatre:
Turn right down Maoming Road, along a favorite street of the author of Shanghai Story Walks. Apparently little has changed since she lived near here.
At No. 58 Maoming Road, there is an entrance to the Okura Garden Hotel:
The French Club was the first to admit Chinese as members, and the first to allow women. American soldiers occupied the building during the 1940s. In 1949 it became a club for government officials. In 1985 the Okura Hotel was opened.
Across the street at No. 59 is the Jin Jiang Hotel:
There is a story of Dong Zhujun (1900-1997) who was born to a poor family. At the age of 13 she was sold to a brothel to be a singer. She met Xia Zhishi who was a soldier and follower of Sun Yat-sen. When Yuan Shikai seized power, Xia was considered an enemy and had to flee to Japan. He asked Dong to accompany him, and she agreed only if he would marry her, send her to school in Japan, and when they returned to China, he would be a politician. So they married when he was 27 and she was 14.
When they returned to China to Chongqing, they had 4 daughters and a son. But Xia did not regain his political position and became depressed. Dong escaped the marriage by moving to Shanghai with her daughters. In 1930 she opened a textile factory with the help of her uncle, but it was bombed by the Japanese. She was put in jail when suspected of being a Communist Party member. Later in 1935 she was able to open a restaurant called Jin Jiang. The restaurant was a success and Du Yuesheng was a frequent customer. Dong was involved in social work, and was in a position to help many Communist Party members. She moved to Manila from 1941 to 1945 to avoid the Japanese.
In 1951, the Communist Party decided to establish a luxury hotel and chose the Cathay Mansions. They asked Dong to be the general manager, and she moved her restaurant and the name Jin JIang to the hotel. During the Cultural Revolution, Dong was imprisoned. She retired to Beijing and wrote an autobiography called My Century.
On the grounds of the Jin Jiang Hotel is the Grosvenor House. I assumed it was the building on Maoming road, because of a plaque on the building. However, in the Shanghai Story Walks book, the author states the Grosvenor House was also known as "Eighteen Floors." I found another building on the grounds labeled as Grosvenor House:
The walk ends at the Metro station at Maoming and Huaihai Roads.