Archive for November 8th, 2011

More on Commissioner Lin’s descendants

November 8, 2011 in Uncategorized | Comments (17)



I met Celia Liu, a descendant of Commissioner Lin, at a reading in Brooklyn (see my post of October 28). She recently sent me the following message.


‘I’m sending you some family pictures.  Lin Zexu had three daughters, one married my father’s paternal great-grandfather C.S. Liu,








and another, Lin Puqing, married her cousin Shen Baozhen,




who were my father’s maternal great-grandparents.  C.S Liu went on to found the regional electrical company, and had sons who were scholars and businessmen – the photograph of him is from 1875.  Unfortunately I do not know much about this Lin sister.

The other picture is a lithograph made as a memorial of Lin Puqing and Shen Baozhen after their deaths.  Shen was an imperial official like Lin; he led Imperial troups against the Taipings, was a Minister of the Navy and was responsible for founding the Chinese naval college.  During the Taiping Rebellion, Shen was the prefect of the city of Guangxin.  While Shen was away with his troops, the city was threatened by 10,000 Taiping troops. Lin Puqing refused to leave the city, writing a plea for reinforcements to the Regional Commander in her own blood – a medium that surely emphasized the dire situation.  Shen returned to Guangxin in time and the reinforcements arrived, saving the city.
The Lin’s, Liu’s and Shen’s all lived in the same neighborhood in Fuzhou city, now called Sanfang Qixiang or three lanes seven alleys.  This neighborhood, its houses and business district have been restored in the last few years, kind of a historic Williamsburg or Sturbridge Village but in southern China and much older.  It is a strange, but picturesque island of stone, stucco and timber traditional courtyard houses and shops in a sea of concrete high-rises.   I went to Fuzhou and Fujian this past August and visited two Liu family homes and Lin Zexu’s house which is now a museum.  The Shen Baozhen house has not been restored, however some Shen descendants still live in the house and refuse to give it up to the government.’


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