China is currently developing a theme park worth billions of dollars for tourists. Opened in 2005, the China Hui Culture Park, an Islamic-centered site, is undergoing expansion to attract more native and international tourists.
According to Shanghaiist, the site is located in Yinchuan, 600 miles west of Beijing. That’s a bit far from the bigger cities, but the local government is pushing through despite concerns.
Construction is reportedly ongoing on an 80,000-square-meter terminal at Yinchuan Hedong International Airport. Road signs are being replaced with Arabic translations.
The park was initially constructed in 2001, Yinchuan.de noted. Today, it covers an area of 67 hectares, but a significant part remains undeveloped. It features a grand, Islamic-style gate and houses a mosque, a Hui museum, a Hui village, restaurants and shopping areas. Performances can also be expected.
Unfortunately, visitors are scarce. NBC News said ticket prices had been reduced from about $12 to $9. For one, a performance showcase only had two people watching.
Sales have not been disclosed. Nevertheless, officials expect a million visitors each year by completion of the expansion.
As per Yinchuan.de, the park opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 6:30 p.m. (winter) or 8 p.m. (summer). Admission rates also vary: each visitor is charged 80 yuan during the summer and 60 yuan in winter/spring.
The Hui people are predominantly Muslim, an ethnic group primarily found in northwestern provinces of mainland China. They are said to be ethnically and linguistically similar to Han Chinese. Most speak Mandarin and have similar dietary preferences, with the natural exception of alcohol and pork.
Though most Hui people practice Islam, there are those affiliated with other religions. There are about 11 million Huis based in an earlier estimate, scattered throughout the country, The Diplomat wrote.
China has an estimated Muslim population of 23 million, New York Times cited, with heavy concentration in Xinjiang. As told by the outlet, this region has a cycle of violence that alarms human rights advocates.