Chinese Flock to Ethnic Minority Theme Parks

Money-spinning parks also serve political purpose
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2010 1:21 AM CST
An Uighur ethnic minority man looks at a poster that reads: "Don't forget the party's kindness. Don't forget the warmth of the motherland. Don't forget the struggles of each minority group."   (AP Photo/Elizabeth Dalziel)
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(Newser) – The fastest-growing theme park experience in China involves meeting not Mickey or Goofy, but actual members of some of the country's 55 official ethnic minorities. Parks like the Dai Minority Park in the ethnic group's Yunnan homeland offer Han Chinese—who make up 96% of the country's 1.3 billion population—a kitschy look at minority lifestyles, the New York Times reports.

The sprawling Dai park is home to hundreds of actual Dai households. Some still grow rubber, while others are employed to carry out their traditional springtime water-throwing festival—every day of the year. The parks are big business, but analysts say they serve a political purpose as well by helping reinforce the idea that China is a unified nation of many minorities, ruled by the Han.

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