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Mao's Home Opens
To mark Mao Zedong's 109th birthday, the former Chinese leader's home on Maoming Road N. in Shanghai was reopened to the public yesterday following six months of renovation.

The residence, which was first opened as a museum three years ago, has been spruced up with air conditioning, better lighting, more exhibits and improved English signs.

"We expect more Chinese, particularly young people, to visit our site and learn about the irreplaceable role Mao played in founding New China," said Yang Jiguang, curator of the residence.

The first floor of the two-story house, at 120 Maoming Road N., includes three original rooms - two bedrooms and one sitting room - complete with replica furniture, while the second floor houses pictures and other exhibits.

Mao lived in the home with his first wife Yang Kaihui and two children Mao Anying and Mao Anqing throughout 1924, his longest stay in the city.

The Great Helmsman, as he was known during the Cultural Revolution, was born to a family of peasants in the village of Shaoshan, Hunan Province, in 1893. He helped found the Chinese Communist Party in 1921 in Shanghai and was named President of the People's Republic of China when it was founded in 1949.

The Jing'an District government spent one million yuan (US$120,481) renovating the house, adding 100 new exhibits, including documents, photos, artifacts, and an original sofa Mao used, Yang said.

The exterior was also refurbished, and eight stones carved with well-known poems written by Mao were inlaid on a wall.

(eastday.com December 27, 2002)

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