China's Islamic theme park has everything but visitors

The China Hui Culture Park boasts buildings that resemble the Taj Mahal and Istanbul's Blue Mosque


News Desk July 12, 2016
PHOTO: China.org.cn

China is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to boosting its image in the Muslim world. The country is currently spending lavishly into building an Islamic theme park to attract Muslim tourists, but it seems as if it has so far failed to strike the right chord.

The China Hui Culture Park boasts buildings that resemble the Taj Mahal and Istanbul's Blue Mosque. Curiously enough, though, all that’s missing are visitors.

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The facility, located in central Ningxia province, opened in 2005 but, according to NBC News, it is less a religious experience than a large-scale promotional display for the country's largest Muslim group, the Hui, who practice a state-sanctioned version of Islam.

PHOTO: China.org.cn

"Coming here could help Arab people to know Chinese culture," a local teacher, Ma Guojing told NBC News.

Construction is currently on-going, which means it is not exactly "AAAA-rated national tourist site," as advertised. Also, many of the attractions, such as the Arabian-themed dance and laser show, are either yet to be built or have been closed.

Even though ticket prices have been reduced from about $12 to $9 due to on-going construction, the park still lacks visitors.

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A Chinese tourist adjusts a borrowed abaya at the Golden Palace, a replica of a mosque that is the centerpiece of an Islamic theme park in Yinchuan PHOTO: NBC NEWS

"Tourists come from all over the country, even the world to learn about Hui culture," one folk singer said. However, only two people watched the subsequent 20-minute performance, NBC News reported.

Once the expansion is complete, however, park officials say they expect to see a million visitors a year.

On a high note though, Emirates Airlines recently inaugurated direct flights between Dubai and Yinchuan, where the local airport is undergoing a 900,000-square foot expansion to accommodate the expected rush.

This article originally appeared on NBC News.

COMMENTS (3)

Hui | 5 years ago | Reply This is not an 'Islamic theme' park but a Hui cultural theme park who are a distinct minority in China and practice varying levels of Islam. Every minority in China had its own theme park.
jay | 5 years ago | Reply China is a funny nation .... They will keep lying and hope that people will buy those lies !
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