Shanghai friends have been showing me the latest update on Shuyinlou 书隐楼 in the old town: the government finally bought it out and promises renovation.
But for decades before that, the state criminally ignored the heritage mansion and denied it preservation funding – this reluctance is now described as "difficult to provide timely maintenance because of the special situation", a ephemism for "we're just cheap". Finally, last year Shuyinlou became completely unlivable and unsightly, and that's when the state purchased it, bargaining relentlessly along the way. The extreme dilapidation of the buildings is now, of course, blamed on the owners, the Guo family, while the Huangpu District official Zhang Guoliang, whose brutal demolition of historic Dongjiadu area earned him the title "Shanghai's No. 1 Bully" (上海滩第一坏人), now poses as the rescuer of Shuyinlou.
Guo Junlun's 郭俊伦 parents, Guo Chuanfu 郭传绂 and Yu Xiujuan 虞秀娟, in the courtyard of their house Shuyinlou in the 1940s.