China's Remote Fortresses Lose Residents, Gain Tourists

In Hekeng, a place with several hundred residents, I ticked off 13 tulou. (Tu lou means “earthen structure” in Mandarin, a very modest definition, like describing a coliseum as a stone circle.) The feng shui of the Fujian highlands as a whole must be good because these days tourist money is streaming into the region. The bonanza began in 2008 when 46 tulou in Fujian were selected as World Heritage cultural treasures, including Hekeng’s cluster of 13. On weekends the rural lanes are often gridlocked with vehicles and pedestrians, and the tulou themselves can be swamped with visitors, the majesty of the architecture competing for attention with merchant stalls selling everything from tea and medicinal mushrooms to Mao posters and tulou-shaped ashtrays …READ MORE

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