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Renovated mansion offers insights into Zhou's life

By Zheng Caixiong in Guangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-13 11:30

Wendelou, former home of late premier Zhou Enlai in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. [Photo by Zheng Erqi/China Daily]

Wendelou, also known as Wende Mansion, the former residence of late premier Zhou Enlai and his wife, Deng Yingchao, has been unveiled to the public in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, adding a new red tourism attraction to the southern metropolis.

Situated in the bustling Yuexiu district of the provincial capital, the century-old Western-style Wendelou was a key locale in the revolutionary history of Zhou, as highlighted by Zhou Xiaojin, vice-president of the Guangdong Institute of Southern Red Culture and Research.

Comprising five interconnected three-story residential houses, Wendelou was the marital home of Zhou Enlai and Deng, with photographs from their wedding adorning the walls of the main rooms.

In the U-shaped yellow residence, the couple resided in a 40-squaremeter room on the second floor of Wendelou's No 3 building in 1925. A striking black-and-white portrait of a youthful Zhou Enlai graces the center of the living room.

The room also showcases personal items used by Zhou Enlai, such as furniture, writing implements, documents, and letters, providing visitors with a deeper insight into his life in Guangzhou, where the Huangpu Military Academy was located. In 1924, Zhou Enlai was appointed as the director of the political department of the academy, which was established by Dr Sun Yat-sen, the esteemed Chinese revolutionary and statesman.

Wendelou, former home of late premier Zhou Enlai in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. [Photo by Zheng Erqi/China Daily]

In 1925, the Guangdong Committee of the Communist Party of China leased a portion of the rooms in Wendelou for its members.

Alongside Zhou Enlai, who was then a member of the Standing Committee of the Guangdong Committee of the CPC and secretary of the Military Commission, Li Fuchun and his wife, Cai Chang, resided in another room on the second floor of Wendelou's No 1 building.

Liang Ying, a staff member of the memorial hall at the former site of Huangpu Military Academy, says Zhou Enlai served as the third director of the political department of Huangpu Military Academy. "He advanced revolution through artistic performances and was embraced by students and teachers," says Liang.

According to Zhou Xiaojin, who is also Zhou Enlai's grandniece, in China, only in Guangzhou's residential houses, restaurants and schools can tourists see wedding photos of the celebrated couple, which evoke long-lost warmth and familiarity.

"Wendelou was where their married life began," says Zhou Xiaojin.

With a focus on preserving the original appearance of historical buildings to the fullest extent, authorities have undertaken the protection, restoration, and revitalization of the cultural relics of Wendelou in recent years.

The renovation work was completed in March, coinciding with the anniversary of Zhou Enlai's birth. Tourists and locals can now visit Wendelou for free after making advance reservation online.

Huang Yi, a 72-year-old local resident, says the mansion looks more beautiful than ever following the completion of the renovation work.

Peng Yi'an contributed to this story.

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