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Jackie Chan may donate houses to Huangshan

By MA CHENGUANG in Hefei and AN BAIJIE in Beijing | China Daily | Updated: 2013-05-10 00:47

A city in eastern China has offered to provide a large area of land to movie star Jackie Chan to prevent him donating ancient Chinese homes overseas.

The kung fu legend said last month he intends to give four of 10 historical buildings he purchased two decades ago to the Singapore University of Technology and Design, which had promised to preserve them.

Originally built in Anhui province between 200 and 400 years ago, the structures were dismantled and are in storage in Hong Kong.

However, Chan's announcement was met with no small amount of anger, with citizens unhappy at the prospects of seeing Chinese heritage sent abroad.

To provide an alternative, the government of Huangshan in Anhui province said it has offered to make 0.67 hectare of the city's most-valuable land available for the houses.

"Huangshan is the original location of ancient Anhui-style architecture, and the buildings' value could be better fulfilled only by staying in their native place," Guo Chuncheng, the city's director of international communications, said on Thursday.

He said the authorities have yet to receive a reply from Chan.

The action star first revealed his plan to 15.6 million followers on Sina Weibo, a popular micro-blogging service. He said he had bought the houses for his parents, but they had been destroyed by termites after his parents died about 10 years ago.

However, Huangshan may have a rival for the houses.

Xin'an Evening News reported on Thursday that Chan had met officials from Yizhuang in Beijing's Daxing district, and that the ancient buildings are likely to be relocated to a park in Yizhuang.

Dang Qun, secretary-general of the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation Beijing, confirmed the actor had discussed the protection of the ancient buildings with Beijing authorities, the report said.

China Daily could not reach Dang for comment on Thursday.

A spokeswoman for the authorities in Yizhuang said on Thursday she had not received any information about the talks between Chan and Beijing officials.

Chan's decision to donate the houses triggered an online outcry, with many experts questioning whether it is legal to export China's ancient architecture overseas.

Chan responded in mid-April by saying that he did not realize the public would be so concerned about the donation, and he promised not to do anything to harm the nation.

Chan will publicize his final decision in a week on his micro blog, his broker said when contacted by China Daily on Thursday.

The kung fu star has been communicating with lots of governments nationwide to discuss the donation issue in recent weeks, the broker said, adding that she could not provide further details of the donation plan, including how many houses were to be donated and which organization would receive the donation.

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