Xinhai Revolution

Revolutionary echoes in Central

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 September, 2011, 12:00am

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A hidden corner in Central that was a cradle of China's 1911 revolution has been revamped as a historic garden to retell stories of the event.

The open space behind Pak Tsz Lane will open to the public late next month to celebrate the centenary of the revolution.

'This initiative provides the public with a valuable open space while at the same time manifesting the significance of Pak Tsz Lane in modern history,' said Barry Cheung Chun-yuen, chairman of the Urban Renewal Authority which oversaw the revitalisation project.

Pak Tsz Lane was originally a secret rendezvous where revolutionists - including Yang Quyun and Tse Tsan-tai, a co-founder of the South China Morning Post - gathered and plotted a series of rebellions that eventually led to the overthrow of the Qing dynasty in 1911.

Members of the social elite who had received a Western education set up the Furen Literary Society on the second floor of 1 Pak Tsz Lane in 1892. At the group's meetings its founders, Yang, Tse and other members discussed social issues and advocated reforming China.

Yang later set up the Revive China Society with Sun Yat-sen in Staunton Street in 1895 and initiated several attempts to overthrow the Qing rulers. He was shot dead by a Qing assassin in 1901.

The old buildings are all gone. A new staircase was built to link the park, hidden behind new buildings in Gage Street, to improve access. Elements of Chinese-landscape architecture feature in the park.

A pavilion, with boards showing a visionary statement of the literary society and introductions and images of its 10 founders, was erected. An English version of the statement drafted by the revolutionaries is also included.

The pavilion also comes with an interactive computer screen and seats for visitors to learn about the history.

A mini-heritage corridor was set up in a corner of the park, showing accounts of four key events, including uprisings in Guangzhou and Huizhou and the assassination of Yang, between 1895 and 1903.

The space also features a bronze sculpture of a young man having his Qing-style braids cut, a symbol of breaking away from the old customs and embracing the new.

Upon completion, the garden will be handed over to the Leisure and Cultural Services Department to manage.