More Chinese than ever go about their lives in landscapes of concrete and steel – cut off from, and yearning for, the richness and splendor of the natural world.
One enterprising businessman has established a park in the Yunnan countryside where these urbanites can tap into their primal urge to commune with Mother Nature... and shoot 'er dead.
The Lijiang Paradise (丽江乐园) hunting park lies at the base of Yulong Snow Mountain, just north of Lijiang and its heavily touristed old town. Patrons can use a variety of real imported and domestically produced firearms chambered with live ammunition to shoot several types of animals.
These animals include sika deer at a cost of 8,000 yuan (US$1,214) apiece, wild boar for 4,000 yuan, goats for 1,000 yuan, pheasant for 200 yuan and hare for 100 yuan.
Promotional materials for the hunting park distributed to hotels and other businesses in Lijiang state, "at the bottom of every man's heart lies an affinity for guns, because guns are glorious and they are a symbol of manhood."
It might surprise some observers that in China, where civilian gun ownership is generally prohibited, a tourist could casually pay a few hundred yuan to use an Italian-made 12-gauge shotgun to blast a pheasant.
This fact also seemed to surprise the reporter who published a sort of media exposé of the hunting park on the Kunming Information Hub website. Generally, when one hears about guns in Chinese news, it is a story of a poacher with an illegal rifle or a gangster accused of using a black market handgun to commit murder.
But as it turns out, China's firearm ownership law has nuances that allow some individuals and organizations to apply to various bureaucratic organs and be granted permission to own and use guns.
Lijiang Paradise is one such organization. It says it applied to local, provincial and national authorities to obtain permission for its collection of guns. An employee of the park surnamed Yang told the reporter that he believed the hunting park to be the first of its kind in southwest China.
"These are all world-famous guns," he added. "Their killing power is extremely strong. For instance, you can use a Beretta shotgun to kill a cow with one shot. And from inside 10 meters you can even explode a sheep's head."
Chairman of the park, Dong Tao (董韬), called hunting a "mixture of modern fashion and traditional culture," that he hopes to turn into a popular pastime for white-collar workers from big cities.
He went on to explain that all the animals at the park were raised there instead of being free-roaming and that he believed that sanctioned hunting areas like his could help the environment by cutting down on poaching and expanding people's appreciation for nature.
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