Chinese officials love promoting their local jurisdictions. It reflects well on them and helps them not get purged. It’s a proud tradition, dating back to the days of the Great Leap forward, when local officials would report huge crop yields, even as crops lay rotting in the field because the farmers were being forced to produce steel. People literally moved their crops next to the train tracks, so that when Chairman Mao passed by, things looked great!
Look at these kids, jumping on a huge crop yield!
Too bad it’s a fake photo—one of the most famous ones used during the Great Leap Forward. Anyway it led to famine. It was a Great Famine though!
Of course, those were the old days. Times have changed. Now there’s Photoshop! So local officials show their commitment to their constituents by visiting the elderly, inspecting the ecological development, and of course, overseeing the destruction of bootlegged alcohol. It kind of looks like they were way better at faking photos before Photoshop.
But the relentless drive to improve spurns them forward. Because officials in China’s Anhui province have taken the time to brush up their photo skills.
This lovely slide show is from a publicity shoot that’s totally meant to attract visitors and investors to the sleepy village of Jiulonggang—and absolutely not a vanity project by the deputy village chief, Wang Xue, who just happens to be the woman in the photos. Wow, she’s got some great…Instagram filters.
After the photos went viral, state-run media emphasized that this was a personal album that she spent her own cold hard yuan on. And that she was doing it just to make sure that people saw the beauty of…her hometown.
But Chinese netizens missed the point, because they seemed more focused on Ms. Wang than the rural beauty of the village. One wrote, “Before I come, I need to know, do you have a boyfriend?”
He should be executed. Except, they may have a point. Because, let’s take her out of the photographs for a moment…
Now the romantic, rustic charm, just seems a bit more run down than anything else. I mean, is this a stairwell you want to be in? Yeah… looks more like Silent Hill now.
By the way, Chinese netizens, Ms. Wang is single, and “jokes she would be surprised and happy to get a boyfriend through this photoshoot.” I would say she has a higher chance of getting a boyfriend than the village has of getting tourists.
Of course, this is just one of many attempts at good publicity happening in any number of villages in China. It’s all part of a tourism push being promoted by Chinese authorities, who are trying to encourage people to spend money to help the economy.
Different villages are trying to play to their strengths. Like this tea village that’s trying to encourage tea tourism, by “repainting houses and building roads.” Or this village, which is encouraging street art to attract tourists.
It’s like a set for American Horror Story: Menagerie. These Chinese villages have got to stop getting their inspiration from horror movies. It’s getting unbearable.
But that’s not the best idea a village has had. No, that prize goes to the village leader in Xianfeng, Sichuan, who thought that if he filled the village with monkeys, it would surely draw tourists! He organized villagers to lure 73 monkeys down from nearby mountains. And it worked! But then tourism started to dwindle, and villagers couldn’t afford to feed the monkeys, of which there were now…more than 600, and so the monkeys took to eating their crops instead.
So what do you think? Would you go to Jiulonggang? And if you were a village chief, how would you promote your locale? Leave your comments below.