By Ma Qian, Sina English
An ongoing illegal construction project at a courtyard of No.51 Shijia Hutong in Beijing, the former residence of a renowned Chinese democratic personage Zhang Shizhao (1881-1973), was halted and fined 200,000 yuan on July 15, by the city’s cultural heritage authorities.
Although ordered to stop, the construction continued till Saturday, the Beijing News reported. According to the Global times, a cultural heritage activist reported to the Beijing Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage (BMACH) of the illegal renovation work at No.51 Shijia Hutong, in the city’s hub of Dongcheng district, which he said has already changed the original look of the courtyard.
The official check by four experts confirmed that the construction work failed to comply with the government-approved repair project. The BMACH published a statement in its official Sina microblog, imposing a fine of 200,000 yuan on those in charge.
The courtyard became the residence of Zhang Shizhao in 1959 under the auspices of former premier Zhou Enlai, and was named a cultural relic protection unit in 1984. The house was later left to Hong Huang, granddaughter of Zhang Shizhao.
In 2009, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed the house as State property and asked Hong to move out. In July 2011, Hong announced in her microblog that she had returned the house to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In March 2011, the courtyard was listed as a historic site under the municipal protection.