Song Qingling (1893-1981) was once the "Honorary President" of the People's Republic of China. She was also the wife of Dr. Sun Yat-sen who was the great revolutionary pioneer of 1920s and the founder of the National Party of China. Located at No. 46, Beiheyan, Houhai, Beijing City, the former residence of Song Qingling is a park-styled yard, which was originally a garden of Prince of Chun palace in Qing Dynasty. The area along the banks of Houhai is quiet and beautiful, with shady willow trees lining the streets. Water from Rear Lake has been diverted through an underground channel into a stream that winds its way through the garden.
This lovely Beijing garden is elegantly laid out with rockeries and ponds set off by pines, cypresses and flowers. Winding corridors links traditional-style halls and pavilions in the garden. The tasteful layout gives the garden an atmosphere of elegant antiquity.
Originally, the grounds of the mansion contained numerous buildings: the front hall, called Happiness on the Hao River Bridge, after a story from Zhuang Zi; the Pavilion for Listening to the Orioles; and the eastern hall, called the Hall for Gazing at Flowers. Linked to the South Building by a winding corridor was the Waves of Kindness Pavilion. Exquisite large rockeries were dotted with structures such as the Fan Pavilion and the Room for Listening to the Rain. Ponds, fine rocks, shady trees, flowers and lawns all added to the enchantment of the garden. But over the years the whole garden fell into disrepair.
After the founding of New China in 1949, the Party and government made plans to build a residence for Soong Ching Ling in Beijing, and decided to renovate one of the princes' gardens for the purpose. New buildings were constructed to the west of the mansion's main hall to create a quiet secluded courtyard as it stands today. Soong Ching Ling moved into the mansion in 1963 and worked, studied and lived here until she passed away on May 29, 1981.