Xiapu County in Fujian province, southern China, is picture-perfect, or is it?
Pictures of a lone fisherman in the backdrop of an idyllic dawn rowing towards what looks like an eternal horizon seem to be picturesque and just perfect for your Instagram feed.
Farmers ploughing the land with buffaloes along with a scenic forest background and sunshine glimmering through is no less enchanting.
And the fishermen casting their nets in a never-ending waterfront, just the perfect shot at a seemingly perfect time.
Or is it?
Spoiler Alert: It Isn’t
All of the above pictures were manufactured. Mind you, it is still a town thriving on agriculture, but most of what you see is staged by photo crew members posing as fishermen and farmers.
Before this pretence took off, Xiapu was a famed place for its seafood, but years of poor harvest led to the decline of its economy. The local government then came up with an idea to boost the economy. They aimed to make it the village of one’s dreams. Only, it wasn’t so.
Xiapu is now known for its camaraderie of picture-perfect shots and all of it for the right price. From a village that thrived on its fishing harvest to a place where you can get your Instagram worthy photo for a price, the journey has been bittersweet.
The Good, Bad And Social
While the pictures are definitely manufactured, it does seem that with hard times, come hard choices. The people there earn their wages by creating a supply to the thirsty demand of great pictures of Chinese culture and way of life, which they do, for a price.
The problem is not at the international level, but at the domestic one. Users on Weibo, the Twitter equivalent of China, were furious that they didn’t get the same quality pictures that had attracted them there.
Some reviews that have gone down on Weibo are –
- “This place cannot be more fake. Fake fishermen casting their nets, and fake farmers with sad buffalo posing for pictures.”
- “Not sure what’s real or fake anymore.”
- “This is a scam. Teenagers are getting cheated into making their way down to this hot spot thinking it’s all real. What’s worse is when they find out the farmers are fake and just modelling,’ they still don’t expose it because they’d rather post pretty photos.”
However, if picture-perfect shots for a small price is your thing, this place has it all, for most people do not realize that it has all been staged.
Image Sources: Google Images
Find the blogger: Shouvonik Bose
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