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Gun tribe has a shot at better prospects with tourism boost

Updated: 2024-01-13 10:37 ( Xinhua )
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A member of the folk performance team in Biasha village in Congjiang county, Guizhou province, does embroidery in between work. [Photo/Xinhua]

In front of the village gate, Gun Shuixin and more than 10 other men stood on both sides of the road, holding up muskets and pulling the triggers aiming toward the sky. With the crisp gunshot, plumes of white smoke emitted from the muzzle.

Curious tourists standing nearby pulled out cellphones and cameras to capture the memorable moment.

Gun, 73, hails from Biasha village in Congjiang county, located in Southwest China's Guizhou province.

In a country where possessing guns is illegal for civilians, the scene of gunfire in the landlocked remote village has drawn tourists, with villagers reaping benefits from the tourism industry.

In the Miao ethnic language, Biasha means a place with lush trees and grass. The village is home to more than 2,800 people.

Known as the "last gunner tribe" in China, Biasha villagers have used guns to hunt and protect themselves for centuries.

Gun acquired his muskets at the age of 15 following the coming-of-age ceremony.

"Now, we only use gunpowder, instead of bullets," says Gun, adding that every musket in the village has been registered with the public security department.

China banned the possession of firearms decades ago, but villagers in Biasha are an exception, although they are no longer allowed to hunt.

For over half a century, guns, as the spiritual totem of local villagers, have served as a tool for cultural demonstration to tourists.

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