Like anywhere in Shanghai, at the wrong time the park can be choked with throngs of people, which rather defeats the point. Go during a weekday and you can really relax
Lu Xun Park sprawls out right behind Hongkou Football Stadium and is a delight to behold in spring and summer when its trees are in blossom. It makes a lovely change from the glass and steel skyscrapers along the Huangpu River. Take a stroll, and perhaps engage in a little tai chi with the elderly practitioners who pepper the park.
The park was initially simply Hongkou park, but it was renamed after the Chinese writer Lu Xun who lived nearby during the last years of his life, before being buried in the park when he died in 1936. He was a popular intellectual and his coffin was draped in a flag bearing the words “The Soul of the Nation” on it. He was later canonised by the Communist Party, who liked to quote him rather selectively for their own ends.
Astonishingly, the park was not even open to Chinese visitors until 1928; it was founded by the foreign community and its design was based on a park in Glasgow, Scotland, with a golf course, tennis courts, swimming pool and bowling green — in short, everything you needed for a swell expat life.
Unsurprisingly, these policies were pretty controversial and did not last long under the Republic of China. In the film “Fist of Fury,” Bruce Lee famously tries to enter a public garden and is barred, resulting in him kicking and snapping the sign displaying the ban. Understandable, really!
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