RSS Beijing:

An abandoned wonderland

Updated: 2012-12-25 15:49 By CJ Henderson

– C.J. Henderson takes a walk around a forgotten theme-park on the outskirts of Beijing.

Photo by C.J. Henderson

About an hours drive out of Beijing lies a property dotted with incomplete structures that resembles a dystopian version of a cartoon kingdom. Filling in the patches are rows of corn stalks, strange small huts, and overgrown weeds.

Rewind to 1998 when the Reignwood Group, a Chinese company also known as Huabin, invested in an over-100-acre development project. It was destined to be the largest theme park in Asia, but over a decade after construction ground to a halt, Wonderland stands abandoned and bleak on the outskirts of Beijing.

Financing problems doomed Wonderland in the late 90s and continue to keep the park firmly lodged in a half-finished state. The land it sits on is still technically leased, but whether any payment has been made to the farmers that apparently still own it is anyone’s guess. They continue to farm on the land. Signs proclaiming which patch of earth belongs to whom are scattered across the landscape, while workers harvest corn in groups of two, eyeing us curiously or not at all.

A sign stating the ownership of a section of farm-land. Photo by Metal Allen

Ancient ruined castles are, for many, nothing new– they are found all over the globe. But ruined castles that are only 14 years young are a striking, discordant thing to witness. They represent a failed dreamland; a future that failed to eventuate; a decade of forgotten hopes.

Walking around the vast fields there are many things to see. A crumbling wall is decorated with 只生一个好 “One child for each couple is best” (zhi sheng yi ge hao) printed in large red letters. An open warehouse mournfully watches on as the building materials it houses go to waste.

1 2 next

Operatic dream blossoms

Tan Dun's love of traditional Chinese culture, especially gardens and Kunqu Opera, has been constant.

Eat the right food for each meal on Xiaohan

Xiaohan is the 23rd solar term, literally means "Slight Cold". It indicates the weather starts to enter the coldest days.

The price of love

Why not rent a boyfriend, or girlfriend to please parents during the Spring Festival?