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Web China: Debate stirs over demolition of late writer's residence

(Xinhua)

08:51, March 09, 2012

BEIJING, March 8 (Xinhua) -- The temporary residence of late Chinese writer Lu Xun in Beijing's Xicheng district is slated for demolition, stirring online debate.

The No. 84 Courtyard on Zhuanta Hutong, or Zhuanta Lane, has been confirmed as Lu's residence from 1923 to 1924, according to a microblog post issued by the district government on Weibo on Wednesday.

It is where he created famous works such as "New Year Sacrifice" and "In the Drinking House."

However, the post said the structure had been rebuilt, leaving no sign of relics, and the space was not listed as a protected heritage site at any level.

The courtyard will be demolished to make way for public green space, according to the district's development plan.

Some netizens have voiced support for the demolition plan, saying the old architecture was unattractive and would also affect the city's construction if not demolished.

However, many others consider Lu a modern literary giant in China, and they believe his residence should be protected for its historic cultural value.

Lu Xun is the pen name of Zhou Shuren. He was born in Shaoxing, east China's Zhejiang province in 1881, and died in 1936. He abandoned his medical studies in Japan in his 20s after realizing that it was more important to spiritually enlighten his compatriots than to cure their physical diseases. Through his work, the master of irony produced harsh critiques on social problems in China.

Wang Bin, a researcher with the Lu Xun Liberal Arts College, said that Lu lived in four different places in Beijing, and the other three have been properly protected.

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