Row as McDonald’s opens in historical residence

Beijing, Nov 18 (IANS) McDonald’s has opened an outlet in a historical residence in east China’s Zhejiang province, sparking a heated debate over whether such sites should be used for commercial purposes.

The burger chain began operating in the main building of a former home of Chiang Ching-kuo, son of Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek, in Hangzhou on November 13, less than two months after Starbucks opened in another section of the residence, reports Xinhua news agency.

Chiang Ching-kuo and his family lived in the building for less than a month in 1948.

McDonald’s proposed to rent the two-story house near the scenic West Lake and turn it to a 100-seat cafe in January.

The story has sparked a public uproar, with many people accusing authorities of ignoring the historic value of the buildings and risking their damage.

“Commercialization will eventually ruin the buildings,” wrote someone with the screen name “Miilansmith” on microblog Sina Weibo.

“Are the authorities really in such dire need of money?” asked another.

Even Chiang Ching-kuo’s grandson, Demos Yu-bou Chiang, questioned the McDonald’s deal, with a microblog post on Weibo asking: “Is having a McDonald’s in a historical residence or a Starbucks in a palace really an OK thing in management of cultural real estate?”

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