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《环球时报》英文版报道“西门庆故里之争”  

2010-05-05 14:41:00|  分类: 专栏《名人故里争 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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3 counties: lusty merchant is ours

By Xu Shenglan

The main character in a classic Chinese novel that has been demonized as notorious and immoral is back in the spotlight as three counties push to call the lustful merchant a native son.

Two counties in East China's Shandong Province, and Huangshan in Anhui Province are promoting tourist spots as the hometown of Ximen Qing, the troubled character from the novel Jin Ping Mei (or The Plum in the Golden Vase) who climbs the social ladder through corruption.

The character is a lustful merchant who marries several women and has a collection of concubines.

Officials in the three counties believe tourists will flock to their attractions if they tell the public Ximen Qing was set there, China Economic Weekly reported Tuesday.

The novel, considered by some academics to be the fifth main classic in China, is sexually explicit but it is considered a masterpiece and not a pornographic book.

"Economic factors drive the competition between different regions, but it is very ridiculous to compete to be Ximen Qing's hometown because he is a notorious figure in the novel," Ma Xiangwu, a culture professor and critic at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times Tuesday.

Yanggu county in Liaocheng, Shandong Province plans to invest 5.6 million yuan ($820,212) to build a 25-acre Jin Ping Mei cultural tourism area in order to attract 200,000 tourists and raise 3 million yuan ($439,000) a year.

The medicine, salt, pawn shops and silk warehouse operated by Ximen Qing, and a teahouse where he and Pan Jinlian, an adulterous wife, dated, will be set up in the area.

The local government invested 3.5 million yuan ($512,632) in 2003 to establish the Lion Storey, where Ximen Qing died; which also showed how the merchant flirted with Pan Jinlian.

"The project is a slogan or an idea to boost tourism development and I don't think it is improper," Pan Xiaowu, a travel agency worker, told the Global Times Tuesday.

Linqing, another county in Shandong Province, also plans to invest 300 million yuan ($43 million) to build an 8-acre tourism area, based on the novel, before 2015.

The area will depict how Wu Dalang discovered the adulterous affairs of his wife Pan, and allow tourists to play a role in the show to experience the luxurious life enjoyed by Ximen Qing.

Huizhou district, Huangshan in Anhui Province also claimed itself the hometown of Ximen Qing and invested 20 million yuan ($2.9 million) in tourism projects in 2006.

"Local governments always try to join such competition. It reflects the limited awareness of local officials," said Ma from Renmin University of China.

Zhang Yiwu, a literature professor at Peking University, said the competition might not contribute to tourism development because the idea might not be appealing to tourists.

Pei Yu, a writer and humanities scholar of Nankai University in Tianjin, told the Global Times Tuesday that people should not jump to make judgments about the local government.

 

http://china.globaltimes.cn/society/2010-05/528539.html

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