An Appointment with the Chairman

After my discovery that Chairman Mao Zedong had spent some of his early life living in Shanghai, I promised myself that I would make the effort to visit his former residence. That promise was made nearly a year ago and since then I’ve always used excuses or busied myself with other priorities rather than fulfilling that promise. After Danielle and I made the decision to leave Shanghai about three months ago, I promised myself again that I would definitely visit his residence before we left. The last couple of weeks I have been concerned that I still wouldn’t follow through on the promise–there was simply too much work for me to mark-up, I was too exhausted, there were other arrangements to be made before leaving China, and any other excuse I could think up. However, over the weekend I finally decided that my next day off would be the day that I would execute my plan which would release me from my promise.

Chairman Mao Zedong

Chairman Mao Zedong never lived in Shanghai for an extended period of time but each visit ended up being quite crucial to the future of his political ideology, formation of the Chinese Communist Party, and his overall legacy in China. Mao first moved to Shanghai in 1919 where he met Chen Duxiu who influenced Mao’s adoption of Marxism. Mao was also introduced to members of the Kuomintang Party (China’s Nationalist Party under Sun Yat-Sen) at the time.

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Building that housed the residence of Mao Zedong and his family.

In 1921, the first session of the National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party took place in Shanghai after the party was created by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao. Mao was made party secretary for Hunan province and moved to Changsha shortly thereafter to begin his spread of communism against the administration of the Hunan Governor, Zhao Hengti. In 1922, the Second Congress of the Communist Party took place in Shanghai, though Mao lost the address and couldn’t attend (Danielle and I laughed when we found out about this at the museum). The following year at the Third Congress, Mao was elected to the Party’s Committee and in the spring of 1924 was elected as an alternate member of the Kuomintang Party in Guangzhou. At that time, Mao put forth policy resolutions that reflected decentralization of the government in favor of local government.

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The cigars that Mao Zedong used to smoke.
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A set of clothes that Mao Zedong wore during his later years.
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A draft of a periodical that Mao was editing for the Xinhua News Agency in 1950.

Today, the residence is a museum that focuses on Mao’s contributions to China, some aspects of his life while living in Shanghai, his visits to Shanghai, and a memorial for his son, Mao Anying.  In 1930, Mao’s wife was executed by the Kuomintang Party and his sons had to flee to Shanghai and join an underground communist school. Later on, Mao Anying and his younger brother, Mao Anqing, would move to Moscow and attend school there. Once Anying was of age, he went to Officer’s school and joined the Red Army in the fight against the Nazi advance into Russia during World War II. During the Korean War, Anying joined the Volunteer Army and was killed by a napalm bomb. He was buried in Pyongyang.

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Mao Anying’s medal from Soviet Russia for his service during World War II.
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Soil from the site where Mao Anying died in Korea. The soil was brought by his wife, Liu Songlin.

If you are interested in visiting Mao’s former residence in Shanghai, take the Line 2 Metro to West Nanjing Road stop and take exit 4. Follow Maoming North Road south till you cross Weihai Road. After crossing the road, you should see the sign below:

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For more information about the Former Residence of Mao Zedong in Shanghai, how to get there, or what to do when you get there, drop your inquiry into the comments section below or contact me.

English address: Building 5-9, Lane 120, Maoming Bei Lu, near Weihai Lu, Jing’an District

Chinese address: 静安区茂名北路120弄5-9号, 近威海路

Telephone: 6272 3656

Open: 9-11am,1-4pm Tue-Sun

Metro: Nanjing Xi Lu

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