Books donated by members and friends of RAS Beijing reside in the library of the Shijia Hutong Museum. Located on one of Beijing’s historic hutongs — traditional alleyways — the site at #24 once was part of a six-courtyard Chinese mansion that had hosted personalities prominent in Beijing’s literary and government circles, especially the performing artists. After 1949, the site which is now #20 Shijia Hutong became the headquarters of the Beijing People’s Art Theater of which Cao Yu was president. (Cao Yu, who is called China’s foremost modern playwright, died in 1996 at the age of 86.)
The Shijia Hutong Museum was restored by the Prince’s Charities Foundation (China) and had been the mansion’s garden wing during the Qing Dynasty; after 1949 it had been used as a kindergarten and, briefly, as a factory producing electronics parts. RAS Beijing is grateful to its book donors and partners for creating such an evocative home for our modest collection.