As China’s economy has developed, so too has the desire of its people for new forms of entertainment. But while the economy has developed at breakneck speeds, forms of recreation have struggled to match the same speed, especially in China’s more rural regions.
A lone laoban rides past the perimeter fence of a construction site. Equestrianism and horse racing have gained in popularity in Wenzhou, and is seen as a symbol of wealth due to the expense involved in importing this practice.
On the side of a road in Rui’an, two imported hunting dogs duke it out while a circle of villagers cheer them on. The dogs fought for nearly ten minutes before they were too battered and exhausted to continue, much to the disappointment of onlookers.
The recreation room in Haicheng Village is a popular destination for its elderly men, who come to play billiards, mahjong or just kill time.
Wenzhou’s expansion has caused Yudun Village to become a local center for games and gambling.
Villagers flocked to Cao village in 2012 to celebrate the yearly Lantern Festival. Here a group of men try their luck at a shooting game in the village market.
Tongxi Reservoir was a popular destination on Mayday in 2013. Its popularity meant that an entire 2 kilometers of the nearby highway was effectively transformed into a parking lot.
A father and daughter perform karaoke in a parking lot-turned-rural entertainment center in Rui’an in 2014.
In the town of Feiyun children play with toy excavators during Children’s Day in 2015.
This school in Xianjiang has added a playground for its students, and is open to the public on Sundays.
Villagers in Taoshan observe traditional festivities infused with Chinese Communist characteristics. Once a rarity, these sorts of activities have made a come back in recent years, albeit with a slight twist.
Onlookers observe June’s Dragon Boat races. In the past, Dragon Boat races between villages have led to conflicts, so in some places this traditional Chinese activity has been banned.
Villagers reciting Buddhist scriptures under a bridge in Feiyun.
Elderly villagers in Tingtian observe a play at a local temple. As Wenzhou’s economy has developed, so too has the quality of some of its temples.
On a summer night in Feiyun, children and adults fish on the side of a road. Feiyun has no libraries, movie theaters, or cultural centers, so pickings are slim.
Come nightfall at Xiadang village, villagers and vendors alike flock to this rural playground.
Villagers line up to take a funny picture at a simple photo booth under a bridge in Feiyun.
It is past nine in the evening, and this couple in Wenzhou are rehearsing under a street light. These two people are members of a village band.
A light illuminates a small train ride in Wenzhou, attracting both bugs and riders.
In the countryside, although forms of recreation are not as diverse as those in the big cities, locals still manage to make the best with what they have.
By Stanley Yu
[Images via Sina]