Shanghai Daily offers English-speaking guide service at refurbished Chairman Mao residence

The former residence of Chairman Mao Zedong is to become more foreigner-friendly after the Shanghai Daily and Jing'an Cultural Bureau signed up to offer an English-speaking guide.
Dong Jun / SHINE

Traditional shikumen (stone gate) elements have been restored at Chairman Mao's former residence at Jiaxiuli on Maoming Road N.

Dong Jun / SHINE
Dong Jun / SHINE

The former residence of Chairman Mao Zedong on Maoming Road N. is a popular destination among tourists, Chinese and foreign. And it is to become more foreigner-friendly after the Shanghai Daily and Jing’an Cultural Bureau signed a memorandum to offer an English-speaking guide to visitors.

The memorial will become more amiable to English-speaking visitors after the Shanghai Daily offers an English-speaking guide service to the residence. A memorandum of understanding on collaboration was signed today, which means Shanghai Daily staff will volunteer to work as guides.

Reporters and editors from Shanghai Daily will be on hand to offer assistance and tell stories about Chairman Mao, especially his legendary stays in Shanghai — the birthplace of the Communist Party of China.

The memorandum was signed a day after the celebration of the Learn from Lei Feng Day. Lei was a People’s Liberation Army soldier, who exemplified an altruistic spirit. He made tireless efforts to help people in times of need during his spare time. Lei died on duty at the age of 21 in August 1962. And on March 5 of the next year, Chairman Mao wrote: “Learn from Comrade Lei Feng.”

“Working as volunteers is our response to the call of Chairman Mao and we hope to do something helpful,” said Wang Yong, executive deputy editor-in-chief at Shanghai Daily.

Ye Ruiying, with the Jing’an Cultural Bureau, said the collaboration is important because foreigners make up around one-quarter of the total who visit the residence.

Dong Jun / SHINE

Wang Yong (right), executive deputy editor-in-chief at Shanghai Daily, and Ye Ruiying, with the Jing’an Cultural Bureau, signed a collaborative memorandum today.

According to historical documents, from 1919 to 1926, Chairman Mao visited Shanghai 11 times, engaged in a variety of work and social activities. But it was his stay on Maoming Road N. in 1924 that had the biggest impact.

Mao spent six months, from June to December in 1924, living with his family on the first floor at Jiaxiuli, where the site is located. The building, listed as a protected site, first opened to the public in December 1999 as a memorial to Mao. It was closed in 2015 for renovation.

Over the last two years, illegal structures built at the entrance were pulled down and the facade was restored based on historical archives. Traditional shikumen (stone gate) elements were restored, including wood shutters and carved stone lintels. Also, the interior layout was upgraded, adding new exhibits.

Life-sized figures of Chairman Mao, his wife Yang Kaihui and their two sons Mao Anying and Mao Anqing were made and set in scenes such as Mao working at his desk and Yang taking care of the boys in a bedroom.

The reopened memorial has a big screen, which stores 11 video clips showing Mao’s 11 visits to Shanghai between 1919 and 1926. Visitors can watch the clips by touching a small screen in front of it.

New exhibits include copies of Mao’s correspondence, the sofa that he sat on during his visit to the former Shanghai Electrical Machinery Factory in 1961 and a set of Mao suits that he sent to his security guard Gao Zhi.

The memorial at 120 Maoming Road N. opens from 9am to 11:30am and 1pm to 4:30pm every day from Tuesday to Sunday, free of charge. Visitors are advised to dial 6272-3656 to make a reservation in advance.

Dong Jun / SHINE

A life-sized figure of Chairman Mao Zedong

Liu Qi / SHINE

Mao's wife Yang Kaihui and his two sons

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