Luce Chinese Studies Grants

Interview with Wang Peng

Interview with Wang Peng a twenty-year-old resident of the village beside Eight Immortals Temple (Baxian Guan). He's lived there his whole life.

Interviewer: So you've lived on the mountain your whole life and have not yet been relocated. How do you explain this?

Wang Peng: I'm actually not sure. Only a portion have been moved in fact. I haven't left yet but surely will in the future.

Interviewer: Have there been many relocated from Eight Immortals Village?

Wang Peng: Yes my friend here [he points to his friend presently on cell phone]

was moved. But he was lucky. When he left, they arranged a house for him, set him up in a training school and he now works at the entrance gate.

Interviewer: Do you feel that being forced to move is a transgression of one's rights to property?

Wang Peng: No. I don't feel the government ignores their rights. It's simply a necessity for the development of tourism to move these people out of the scenic area. It's meant to protect the forests and is good for the visitors and tourists.

Interviewer: Have you seen the booklet entitled Trustworthy People of Wudang (Chengxin Wudang Ren)? And if so, have you read it?

Wang Peng: Yes, I've seen it and I've read it as well.

Interviewer: Any impressions?

Wang Peng: Local customs in this area are backward (luohou). Transforming them is a must for development.

Interviewer: Does your home village receive many tourists?

Wang Peng: No, there are very few tourists. This is primarily because our temple has been destroyed.

Interviewer: How and when was the temple destroyed?

Wang Peng: I'm not sure how, but it was during the Cultural Revolution.

Interviewer: Are there people in your village who have relatives buried in the area?

Wang Peng: Yes, but it is no longer permitted on the mountain. People are most often buried at the bottom of the mountain but this is very expensive and only the wealthy can really afford it. Most people are cremated these days.

[Interview ends abruptly as Wang departs, late for an appointment.]

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