The former residence of the late former General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Zhao Ziyang in Beijing has begun to be relocated and prepared to be returned to the government. The first items to be moved are mainly from Zhao Ziyang’s study and bedroom, which are considered to have the most commemorative value. It is understood that Zhao Ziyang’s family plans to seal some of the items, as well as move them to Zhao Ziyang’s hometown. However, based on Zhao Ziyang’s special background, the future destination of these precious items has raised concerns.
At the former residence of Zhao Ziyang’s courtyard at No. 6 Fuqiang Hutong in Beijing’s Dongcheng District, a group of people believed to be from a moving company were led by Zhao Ziyang’s family to move a large number of packed items onto a truck Thursday morning.
A member of the Zhao family accepted our telephone inquiry and confirmed that the relocation of Zhao Ziyang’s former residence has begun, as for the relocation schedule and whether the items removed have commemorative value, the other party refused to disclose.
The company’s members: “We are planning to move anyway, gradually in the move. We are also in the process of moving, when to finish moving, now we do not know. The value of this item depends on how you look at it, you may think it has no value, you may think it has value. Since they’re leaving something behind, they probably feel they should leave it behind. It’s a totally personal life thing.”
The quadrangle is currently primarily the residence of Zhao Ziyang’s daughter Wang Yannan’s family. Earlier sources noted that they received a notice of relocation from the CCP Central Office staff last year, anticipating that Wang Yannan and others would be assigned to live in another location.
Wang Yanan’s family will not move out before July 1
Ji Feng, a leader of the 1989 academic movement who is close to the Zhao family, believes that Wang’s family will not move out before July 1.
Ji Feng: “Originally, they were limited to move before July 1, but in order not to go too far, they did not move before July 1, in principle, they did not rush them, let them move slowly, not rush so fast, moving is already a foregone conclusion.”
After Zhao Ziyang’s death, many people will take advantage of the anniversary of his death and the Qingming Festival and other days to pay their respects at his former residence. It is believed that the authorities want to take advantage of the centenary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party to allow Zhao Ziyang’s family to move out of Fuqiang Hutong to eliminate worries.
Ji Feng: “The only people who live there are Wang Yannan and his family at No. 6 Fuqiang Hutong. The people who go there generally go to pay respect to Zhao Ziyang, and generally are related to the June 4, and then the rights and petitions also followed, after more people they are afraid to add to the chaos. It has become a pilgrimage point, the same as Lin Zhao’s tomb, so it must be removed.”
It is understood that Zhao Ziyang was mainly active in his study and bedroom during his lifetime. The items that were moved from Zhao Ziyang’s residence also came mainly from these two places, including tables, chairs, sofas and massage chairs, some of which had been in use since he was in power in Guangdong and Sichuan, among other places. The items were sent to a warehouse on the outskirts of Beijing.
Zhao Ziyang’s family wants to preserve and even display his relics to the public
During his lifetime, Zhao Ziyang made many foreign visits and was presented with books, picture books and other souvenirs by leaders of many countries. It is understood that Zhao Ziyang’s family plans to donate some of the items to schools and museums in Zhao’s hometown of Henan. Independent journalist Gao Yu revealed in a tweet. Wang Yannan is interested in preserving the study at No. 6 Fuqiang Hutong as it was before the new residence was decided.
After the former residence is moved, will the family donate some things to make a memorial, there is still a possibility, because he had a lot of things. Many things in Fuqiang Hutong were used by him, including chairs, desks, all used for his previous work.”
The family hopes to preserve and even display Zhao Ziyang’s relics to the public, but Feng Chongyi, an associate professor of Chinese studies at the University of Technology Sydney, is concerned about the precious items.
Feng Chongyi: “There is a gray area here. State leaders have these things. If it recognizes that you are with them, then it can take measures to protect it and also consult the family on how to handle it and how to arrange it, but it is looking at Zhao Ziyang as an enemy, although it does not openly say he is a traitor. This way it will not protect or let the family take or dispose of his things.”
Zhao Ziyang was stripped of all his posts after the June 4 incident and was not allowed to be buried as a leader at the Babaoshan Cemetery after his death in 2005. The ashes had been stored in his former residence for a long time. It was not until Oct. 18, 2019, the day after Zhao Ziyang’s 100th birthday, that his and his wife Liang Boqi’s ashes were buried at Tianshou Garden, a private cemetery in Changping, Beijing.