Based in the range of the Ancient Town Conservation Program of Suzhou, China, Joya (Suzhou Joya Youth Hostel) is a part of the residence of Pang, a famous royal family in China's history. The Pang's residence once was a chateau owned by Chen Shiguan, a high-ranked official of Emperor Yongzheng's reign of Qing Dynasty, and later during Emperor Tongzhi's reign of the dynasty it was purchased and revamped by the Pang's forefather, Mr. Pang Qinglin.
The resident premises include quite a few splendid buildings including the Pang ancestral memorial hall, which were built by the successive owners and decorated with many tablets bearing calligraphy art pieces from famous artists. Also included are a river dock, a pond and two ancient wells. These buildings of traditional Chinese-style wood structures are included in Suzhou's list of protected buildings because of their unique south-China features such as the white walls, black roofs and delicately enchased windows.
     Covering a land of about 2,000 square meters, the Pang's residence features flexible access via six gates, and is adjacent to two rivers: the Daxinqiao River and the Daliuzhi River. Right in front of Joya is the Pingjiang Road, which once applied to the UN as a candidate for the world cultural heritage in consideration of its perfect integration with water ways and its ancient landscapes including the rivers, the stone bridges and the slate pavements.
Joya's reception desk is in the original entrance hall of the residence; the foyer used to be the Sedan Chair Hall (a place for arrival and departure of sedan chairs); while the old Flower Basket Hall and studies now serve as the guestrooms, including suits, double-bed rooms, standard rooms and dormitory rooms, for your best choice.
The hostel has three gardens and two courtyards. One of the gardens features beautiful rockworks and very old loquat trees, from which you may enjoy their delicious fruit; the second one contains an ancient well, which is the best place to enjoy the moonlight at summer nights; and the third shows you hundred-year old wisteria vines surrounded by banana trees.

People Who Used to Live Here

When you appreciate the ancient and delicately patterned wood windows, or when you stroll on one of the pebbled paths, a question may probably occur to you: who once lived here in the old days? Yes, there were many who lived here in the past 300 years or so, and quite a few of them were renowned, interesting and/or successful.

Chen Shiguan

A winner in the highest imperial examination in the 42nd year of Emperor Kangxi's period of Qing Dynasty (1730), who was granted the title of Wenqin Gong (outstanding scholar). Shiguan was appointed as a grand academician of Wen Yuan Ge C the royal library, and the teacher for the crown prince. Although not belonging to Man (the royal nationality), he was so favored by the imperial government that he was rumored as the natural father of the emperor Qianlong, as repeatedly recounted in the famous historical fiction author Jin Yong's story books. It is said that this residence once was Shiguan's chateau.

Pang Qinglin

The forefather of the Pang family, also named Xiaoya (Joya) and nicknamed Qulu, born in Zhenze, Jiangsu Province. Qinglin was a winner in the highest imperial examination in the 13th year of the Tongzhi period of Qing Dynasty (1874), and later was promoted to the positions of the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Household. In a couplet-making contest in Beijing, he won as reward the most popular courtesan Wang Lijuan, who then became his concubine. In the 21st year of the Emperor Guangxu period, he retired from the government and returned to his hometown. It was in the period of Emperor Tongzhi's reign that Pang Qinglin purchased and revamped this residence. At the same time, he also bought another property in Suzhou - the He Yuan (Crane Garden).

Pang Yuanqi

Also named Jiasun, a son of Pang Qinglin. Yuanqi successfully passed the provincial-level imperial examination when he was only 20. Unfortunately, he died young from diarrhea, leaving three sons and a daughter behind.

Jin Songcen

Well-known as an educator, patriotic activist, scholar and poet in the late Qing Dynasty and the early Republic of China. His most astounding action against the orthodoxy was turning the ancestral hall of his family into a school, which was a real challenge against the old ethical code that had lasted for thousands of years. Songcen once rented and lived in this residence.

Chao Yuanren (1892-1982)

A son of Pang Yuanqi's sister-in-law, and a well-known linguist, philosopher and music composer. Yuanren was elected as the chairman of the Linguistic Society of America and the American Oriental Society. He was so highly recognized by the American linguistic world that he won the reputation of "never-wrong Zhao". When he was very young and after his parents deceased, Yuanren found his shelter at the Pang's residence, where his favorite aunt lived.

Pang Guojun

Also named Hengshang, the eldest son of Pang Yuanqi. Guojun won the title of Yougong (a level of outstanding student who passed a special provincial-level imperial examination) in the 1906 provincial-level imperial examination. He worked as a curator at Shanghai Culture and History Museum in the early years of the New China. He was very good at poetry composition and the art of Chinese calligraphy. Guojun inherited the He Yuan (Crane Garden) in Suzhou, and renovated it into a resort for men of letters to exchange their poems.

Pang Guoqi

Also named Guomin, the second son of Pang Yuanqi. He was the director general of Beijing Municipal Health Bureau during the Japanese occupation period, and the dean of the College of Agriculture of Peking University. Guoqi's academic compositions include A Concise Course of Pathogenic Microbiology and Immunology and A Course of General Science of Veterinary Medicine.

Pang Guohao (1897 - 1966)

Also named Jingzhou, the third son of Pang Yuanqi. Guohao was determined by his father's early death from disease to commit himself to the medical science, when he was only 5. He opened his own clinic at the Bund of Shanghai when he was 24, right after his graduation from Tongji Medical University. Then, he became the dean of Shanghai Tongde Medical College and a vice chairman of Shanghai Medical Workers Trade Union. In 1937, he took the office of the secretary-general of General Red Cross Society of China, playing an important role in field first-aid services and creation of field hospitals. Later, in the winter of 1939, he was appointed as the director of Chongqing Air-Attack Relief Committee; in 1941, he switched to the position of the chief of the Medical Division for the Burma-Yunnan Railway; and after the establishment of the New China, he became the secretary-general of Shanghai Medical History Society. Guohao's academic works include General Survey of Medical Development in Shanghai in the Past Ten Years, China's History of Malaria Research, and The History of Tuberculosis.

Pang Zenggui (1917 - 1996)

The eldest son of Pang Jingzhou. Zenggui graduated from the Architecture Department of Zhejiang University. He used to be the chief engineer at the Housing Administration of Chongwen District, Beijing, and a CPPCC commissioner of the same district. He was keen on poetry, and initiated a poetry society named Yingming (meaning "bird songs") and became the deputy manager of the society. Zenggui wrote the article Biography of Doctor Pang Jingzhou, which tells a rich story about the Pang family.

Pang Zengshu (1918-1997)

The eldest daughter of Pang Jingzhou. Early when she graduated from Suzhou Zhenhua Girls' Middle School, Zengshu was determined to become a good citizen who was capable to establish social undertakings as men could do. In 1942, when graduated from the Department of Foreign Literature of Zhejiang University, she gave up her well-off life and became a teacher at Chongqing Yucai School, which was founded by Mr. Tao Xingzhi, a pioneer in modern China's education. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, she was engaged in women's work and high school education, and later moved to the Institute of Youth and Juvenile Studies under Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Even in her retirement, Zengshu contributed to the translation and editing of Encyclopedia Britannica and A Collection of Works by Tao Xingzhi. Many who knew Pang Zengshu were deeply impressed by her spirit of "giving everything without taking anything" as Mr. Tao Xingzhi instructed.

Pang Zenglian (1919 - )

The second son of Pang Jingzhou. Zenglian graduated from the Department of History of the National Central University. In the fall of 1943, he went to the United States for further education, from which he won his master's degree. In 1949, he started his career in the United Nations. In 1960, he wrote to Mr. John F. Kennedy (then a presidential runner) and urged him to consider unbarring the business-based immigration quota for Chinese, in light of which he was invited to Mr. Kennedy's presidential inauguration in 1961. In 1974, he was dispatched to Geneva as the leader of the Chinese Diplomat Group, where he managed translation and interpretation services for many large international conferences. Soon after the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States, Pang Zenglian made remarkable contributions to the early development of Sino-US trades, which was reported by Associated Press in a feature article.