Mao Zedong and the No.15 Doufuci Hutong

The Doufu (tofu) chi hutong behind the Bell Towel in the Dongcheng District was called Doufuchen hutong during the Ming Dynasty. In those days there was Chen sir named skillful tofu maker living in the hutong and his tofu business was booming. So the hutong was named after him. In Qing Qianlong’s reign, the hutong was renamed Doufuchi hutong. There are many other hutongs which were named after the craftsman residence of Yang Changji (Yang Huaizhong), Mao zedong’s teacher, when he was teaching in the Department of philosophy at Peking University. On August 1918, the 26- year-old Mao zedong organized the members of the Xinmin Association to study abroad in France and that  was the first time for Mao to be in Beijing. He and Cai Hesen, the two most highly regarded students of Yang, lived in Yang’s home. Before his death in 1920, Yang wrote to Zhang Shizhao: “I solemnly inform you that Mao and Cai are two rare talents in China. They have bright future. When talking about saving China, you must put the two into important positions.” On Yang’s recommendation, Mao became an assistant librarian under the supervision of Li Dazhao in the library of Peking University.

The No. 15 of the Doufuchi hutong is a two-level couryard. In those days, the 18 year old Yang Kaihui sad his father lived respectively in the west and east side of the northern house, and Mao zedong and Cai Hesen lived in the southern house. When Kaihui met mao for the first time in Changsha, she was only 14 years old. And during their reunion this time in their Beijing Xian travel, they watered the jujube trees in the courtyard and went out for a walk together. They fell in love with each other. Later, Mao and Cai moved to a small siheyuaner at No. 7, jian Dong Jiadao, Sanyanjing, Jinggshan East Street (today’s No.8, ji’an Zuo lane). He recalled those days this way:” Eight people lived in three small houses. We slept on the high kangs…I lived in poverty. But I think 1 was somewhat compensated by the beautiful landscape in this ancient city.” the age-old tree was planted by Yang Jichang. A few days later, they traveled Xian for a meeting together.