Presidential Palace 总统府

292 Changjiang Rd
Nanjing, Jiangsu Sheng, 210002

After the Imperial Exam, I hop on the subway and get off at Daxinggong Station 大行宫 on Taiping N Road, to visit the Palace. As I’m walking toward the Changjiang Road half a block ahead, I ask a woman if she knows where the Presidential Palace is. “Follow me,” she says.

We cross Changjiang Road and turn to the right, the ticket office is a short walk ahead. After fighting to get my ticket which they require ID – hey people, I’m only visiting, not running for election!! But wain, I was born in China, that makes me … eligible to run for an office? (in 2020? ha ha.) I turn around to see the woman, who, unfortunately doesn’t have her ID with her, neither her children – too many heads for me to carry … but as I wait in line to get in, three teens come up to me, “Auntie, can you bring us in?” Kids under 18 go free. I got them in without any drama.

My main reason to come is due to my maternal great great grandfather Zhou Fu who oversaw the re-construction of the city after Taiping Rebellion put down in 1864. Little did he expect that decades later he would occupied the same compound he rebuilt as the Viceroy of Lianjiang in 1904-6 – not having the coveted jinshi degree was a good guess. This old photo from Andrew Hillier collection shown his predecessor Wei Guangdao was giving a lunch party in honor of Guangxu Emperor’s birthday on Aug 18, 1903. (Both Wei and Zhou’s next appointment was Viceroy of Min-Zhe. Before taking up his, Zhou was reappointed to Guangzhou (Canton) as the Viceroy of LiangGuang where he’d sign the Gold Loan of 1907 which was the reason that led me to Dr. Andrew Hillier, and discovered this photo.)

Not doing enough homework, as usual: IF I were to see this old picture before the trip, I’d taken one or two with the same angle. This one will do for now (another one). The larger marble boat is in the West Garden.

Zhou Fu’s son Xuexi was born in Nanjing in 1866 and went on to become the father of Chinese industry. He tangled up in the messy Kaiping mines with Herbert C. Hoover that yielded the trial of the century in London in 1905. Later he served two terms of Minister of Finance, under Yuan Shikai.

Between the East and West gardens/lakes is Xu Garden 煦园 where one of my uncles (Zhou Fu’s great grandson) was born and hence named – Zhou Xuliang graduated from the University of Edinburgh, became a famed English literature and philosophy transactor. The 1932 Nobel winner The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy was among his many works. The book 福尔赛世家 is ¥42.90 on Douban.

During the tour, a young couple became interested in my mission. After not finding/seeing Zhou Fu’s photo (closed), we leave hectically to search for the house where Zhou Fu and his family had lived, a little less than a mile away.


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