Date
16 August 2017
Wei Xiabao, depicted by an actor in this 2008 still from the TV drama The Deer And The Cauldron, has seven wives. Photo: internet
Wei Xiabao, depicted by an actor in this 2008 still from the TV drama The Deer And The Cauldron, has seven wives. Photo: internet

Yangzhou shelves Wei Xiaobao-inspired theme park

Yangzhou, a tourist city in eastern China’s Jiangsu province, has shelved a plan to build a theme park inspired by the fictional book character Wei Xiaobao (Wai Siu-bo in Cantonese).

Local authorities pulled the proposal after complaints that the character has more than one wife and is a heavy gambler, news website thepaper.cn reported Thursday. 

Xu Yue, a local government official, had suggested the city build a theme park named after The Deer And The Cauldron, a popular novel by Hong Kong’s Jin Yong in which Wei Xiaobao is the main character.

In the novel, Yangzhou is mentioned more than 280 times, which is something the city could use to boost tourism by building the theme park, Xu said.

“There has been a building boom of theme parks. We have seen successful examples such as Disneyland, China Dinosaurs Park in Changzhou and Millennium City Park in Kaifeng.”

Wei Xiaobao has a lot of “entertaining” elements, so a theme park that features him would help Yangzhou attract more tourists, the report quoted him as saying.

The proposal was initially backed by local authorities who described the idea as “innovative” and “meaningful”.

One of them was Wang Minghong, deputy head of Yangzhou’s tourism bureau, who said associating the classical fictional figure with Yangzhou “offers tourists a great experience”.

The tourism bureau published a series of cartoon products featuring Wei Xioabao and local media launched a campaign to turn him into an advertising mascot.

The plan soured when netizens began to criticize Wei Xioabao’s less than perfect image.

And scholars fiercely weighed in, saying Wei Xioabao rose from the grassroots at the expense of other people.

On Monday, the municipal government said it is shelving the plan in response to public concerns.

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JZ/JP/RA

Freelance journalist

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