Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Space Travel News .




SPACE TRAVEL
China village gunning for tourists
by Staff Writers
Biasha, China (AFP) April 28, 2014


A rifle shot tears the air of a mountain hamlet -- met not with terror but cries of delight in China's only remaining village where authorities encourage gun ownership.

"We start carrying guns from about 15 years old," said Jia Xinshan, fingering a wooden rifle's trigger as tourists snapped pictures of him in a shiny black coat. "We're the last gun tribe in China."

The armaments in Biasha, a village tucked amid the wooded peaks of Guizhou province, are a reminder of an era of conflict between Beijing and the mountain tribes who still inhabit swathes of China's southwest.

Villagers are allowed to own rifles but restricted to firing them during displays for tourists -- illustrating how once-restive minority groups have integrated with the state.

China, wary of social unrest and crime, bars most civilians from owning firearms, giving the village's gunpowdery atmosphere an illicit feel.

"We used to use our guns to protect the village," said Jia, 30, who performs daily in a dance routine where he thrusts his gun into the air before firing it.

"Now we carry them to give tourists an impression."

Biasha's wooden shacks which cling to hillsides are home to members of the Miao minority, an ethnic group of about 12 million people who are more at home in their own languages than Mandarin Chinese.

The name "Miao" was first applied to hill tribes who fought bloody rebellions against the Chinese state which pushed south in the 1600s, forcing locals into high mountain territory.

Miao fighters had "considerable experience with firearms," as early as 1681, according to historian Robert Jenks, whose account of the rebellion was published by the University of Hawaii.

But the deadliest clashes occurred in the 19th century, where by some estimates several million died.

Chinese forces lost 30 to 40 men a day from Miao snipers who fired into government camps under cover of darkness, a British mercenary commented in 1870, according to Jenks.

- One gun maker remains -

The rebellions were finally put down and Miao leaders executed in 1872 by Chinese army regiments.

Mountain groups "went through a process of adaption to the new nation-state system," said Siu-Woo Cheung, a professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

The Miao achieved their first official recognition as an ethnic group by the republic that followed the collapse of China's last dynasty in 1912, granting them limited autonomy, a status that continued when the Communist Party took power three decades later.

The Miao's accommodation with the government contrasts with other groups such as Tibetans and Uighurs, who continue to clash with authorities over what they claim is cultural repression.

Villagers in Biasha said just one gun maker remains -- in a hillside shack where vegetables hang from the roof and metal weapon scraps fill a wicker basket.

"It takes two or three days to make a gun," said Gun Laosheng, the craftsman. "My father taught me, because he loved guns and was great at hunting wild birds."

But these days locals prefer to profit from tour groups, he said.

"Now you spend a day hunting and you don't even know if you'll shoot anything, so it makes more sense to work and buy some meat."

Many villagers have taken the surname Gun, whose similarity with the English word is coincidence.

- 'Not even allowed to buy gunpowder' -

Hunting has been virtually banned, locals said, in a measure to protect wildlife, and villagers are prohibited from firing guns outside of performances.

"We're not even allowed to buy gunpowder on the market, so we have to secretly buy it," said one young villager who asked not to be named.

Ning Jingwu, a movie director who spent over a year in the village said: "The government allows them to keep guns but is very scared about gun production."

But an illicit trade survives -- in Guiyang city just 300 kilometers (190 milles) from Biasha, police this month seized 15,000 guns from an "illegal ring."

"People come from outside the village to sell guns, but the locals won't admit it," Ning said.

"Now the gun has turned into a tool for performances, which we think is kind of sad."

In Biasha's stone-paved village square, opposite a tourist hotel labelled "The Gunner Inn," five-year-olds pose with plastic replica rifles while visitors pay to fire shots into the air.

Wearing a brand-new backpack, 27-year-old Tan Ying, a member of China's Han majority, came to Biasha with a sightseeing group.

"They used to have guns to fight us Han, but now I feel they are more or less the same as us," she said.

Sitting on a grassy knoll, 37-year-old gunner Guan Nila said: "Our country is peaceful now so we don't need to use guns."

"If I wanted to fight, I would just hit you, and not use any weapons."

.


Related Links
Space Tourism, Space Transport and Space Exploration News






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





SPACE TRAVEL
Minorities on display in Chinese tourist boom
Zhouxi, China (AFP) April 15, 2014
Marching in dragon dances, cheering on buffalo fights, singing folk songs with villagers, an enamoured traveller ticked off the sights during a three-week tour of Chinese ethnic minority festivals. The man - who flew across the country to southwestern Guizhou province to see the colourful traditions - represents both the benefits and downsides of ethnic minority tourism. "Their cultu ... read more


SPACE TRAVEL
45th Space Wing supports third SpaceX Launch for ISS Resupply mission

Arianespace's Vega launcher receives its "upper composite" for this month's launch

Russian Rockets used by the US

SpaceX Cargo Mission Launches to Space Station

SPACE TRAVEL
Opportunity Rover Driving Up To Crater Rim

NASA Rover Opportunity's Selfie Shows Clean Machine

NASA's Human Path to Mars

Meteorites Yield Clues to Red Planet's Early Atmosphere

SPACE TRAVEL
John C. Houbolt, Unsung Hero of the Apollo Program, Dies at Age 95

NASA Completes LADEE Mission with Planned Impact on Moon's Surface

Russia plans to get a foothold in the Moon

Russian Federal Space Agency is elaborating Moon exploration program

SPACE TRAVEL
Dwarf planet 'Biden' identified in an unlikely region of our solar system

Planet X myth debunked

WISE Finds Thousands Of New Stars But No Planet X

New Horizons Reaches the Final 4 AU

SPACE TRAVEL
Exoplanets Soon to Gleam in the Eye of NESSI

First Potentially Habitable Earth-Sized Planet Confirmed By Gemini And Keck Observatories

Upside-down planet reveals new method for studying binary star systems

Odd Tilts Could Make More Worlds Habitable

SPACE TRAVEL
ATK supplying hardware, composites for Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle

NASA Gears Up for Next Set of Engine Tests for Space Launch System

NASA Signs Deal With German, Canadian Partners To Test New Fuels

NASA Engineers Prepare Game Changing Cryotank for Testing

SPACE TRAVEL
China issues first assessment on space activities

China launches experimental satellite

Tiangong's New Mission

"Space Odyssey": China's aspiration in future space exploration

SPACE TRAVEL
Construction to Begin on NASA Spacecraft Set to Visit Asteroid in 2018

Dawn draws ever closer to dwarf planet Ceres

Cosmic collision creates mini-planet with rings

Hubble Space Telescope Spots Mars-Bound Comet Sprout Multiple Jets




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.