THE former residence of Chiang Kai-shek, who led the Koumintang government in the wartime capital of Chongqing during the war against Japanese aggression (1937-1945), is being demolished, and online posts have sparked a loud controversy.
The brick-and-tile compound built in 1935 was listed by Chongqing authorities in 2009 as a heritage site, but they recently said the buildings are in such a dilapidated state that they are beyond repair, and they will have to be rebuilt at the original site, according to a Xinhua news agency report.
The officials said the buildings will be carefully dismantled, brick by brick, and old construction materials will be used again in the compound's restoration, which is scheduled for completion by October 2013.
The buildings' roofs have been pulled down. Only the bricks and some wood frames are left and rubble is being removed, the report said.
Restoration work will begin in August, said Xu Xiaoyu, a heritage protection official in Yuzhong District where the compound is located. "We are dismantling it for the purpose of its preservation."
But Xu's "demolition for preservation" argument provoked anger among some in the media and public.
A microblogger wrote: "Demolish and preservation is antonym. I totally can't understand the 'demolition for preservation.'"