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Marble Floors, Gold Ceilings: This is China’s Most Luxurious Horse Stable

Lavish chandeliers and marble floors are perhaps not the first things that come to mind when thinking about horse stables. Despite some media writing that “the world’s most luxurious stable” is located in Dubai, this is the Heilan Equestrian Club in Jiangsu, China.

Manya Koetse

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Lavish chandeliers and marble floors are perhaps not the first things that come to mind when thinking about horse stables. Despite some media writing that “the world’s most luxurious stable” is located in Dubai, this is the Heilan Equestrian Club in Jiangsu, China.

“Only in Dubai would you see a marble-floored horse stable”, a Redditor named Randvoo12 posted on Reddit on March 16. The post made it to the top trending posts on Reddit, but soon turned out not to be about Dubai at all. As one user (Leehomf) pointed out, the stables are actually located in Jiangsu, China.

Image via oldkids.cn/blog.

Netizen Leehomf, who has visited the stables, shared on Reddit that the equestrian club is owned by the founder of the Heilan group, “a multi-billion corporation based in Xinqiao, China. This man bought many breeds of horses from all over the world and put them in a lavishly constructed hall to show off his wealth.” The Redditor pointed out that despite all the glitter and glamour, “the place smelt just like a farm.”

Jiangsu’s Luxury Town

The Heilan Equestrian Club (飞马水城管理中心) in Xinqiao (Jiangyin) is to be part of a larger luxurious town (衣尚小镇) that will include an ecological tourism resort with a Venetian water park, a university campus, a cultural center and other projects – an initiative by the China Heilan Group.

According to a local Jiangsu Weibo account (@暨阳网), the completion of the whole project will cost over 8 billion RMB (±1.1 billion US$) in the coming three years.

“Horse Culture Museum”

As also pointed out by the Pickle website, the pictures of the impressive marble stable are taken at the Heilan Equestrian Club’s so-called “Horse Culture Museum”, where equine-related art and fancy horses are displayed in an area that covers approximately 260,000 square meters.

According to the official Heilan website, the horse center is located in the southern area of Xinqiao, and is China’s “first-ever comprehensive equestrian facility”, a place that offers equestrian training, performances, competition, and recreational services.

Some netizens (including @秋菘1676094607 and @共同的风景) also shared pictures of the Horse Center on Weibo.

The Heilan Group bought more than 200 high-end horses from countries such as the Netherlands, Spain, and Germany for their equestrian center, which was formally established in 2009.

The center is also home to approximately 60 Chinese horses from Xinjiang, Beijing, and Inner Mongolia. According to China’s Baike wiki, there are 36 specialized equestrian trainers from various countries.

Stuffed Horses

In 2015, the Heilan Equestrian Club’s owner Zhou Jianping placed an order at a Dutch taxidermy company to have a total of 12 horses stuffed for his museum.

The owner of the Dutch taxidermy company, Maurice Bouten, told website Horses at the time: “They called me asking if I could stuff horses. They wanted a total of twelve. I first thought it was a joke, but the project really happened.”

The Chinese director came up with four Frisian and eight Andalucian horses that were about to be slaughtered. It took Bouten approximately 150 hours per horse to finish the project (image by 1limburg.nl). The horses were then exported to China per airplane.

No, not Dubai!

Not just on Reddit, but also on Weibo, many netizens seem to think the marble-floored stables are located in Dubai. A post saying “look at these Dubai stables” attracted attention on Weibo today.

“I am from Jiangyin,” one netizen clarified: “And this is definitely the Heilan Horse Club!”

Besides the many people confirming that these photos most definitely were not taken in Dubai, there were also those who were critical in different ways: “People who really know about horses would never approve of this. This is not a proper environment for a horse!”

“This might all be glorious splendor to you, but it doesn’t mean anything to the horses” another Weibo user wrote: “They should be grazing the grassland.”

– By Manya Koetse

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Images in this post from Reddit, Weibo, oldkids.cn/blog, and www.1limburg.nl.

©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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    Cynthia Santovena

    June 15, 2019 at 8:15 am

    WTH!!! 12 beautiful living horses were slaughtered so they can be taxidermied and stuffed. This is wrong on all levels and should be an international outrage. Horses and all equines deserve our love and respect. They are such beautiful and majestic creatures… Who is the demon responsible for this evil act?

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China Local News

Children of Hubei Medical Workers to Receive 10 Extra Points on High School Enrolment Examination

Hubei officials announced a controversial measure to reward frontline medical workers.

Manya Koetse

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Image via xjdkctz.com.

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Hubei authorities announced new measures on Tuesday to encourage and support the work of Hubei’s front-line medical workers during the coronavirus crisis.

One of these measures, rewarding the children of medical staff an extra ten points in their zhongkao examination, became a somewhat controversial top trending topic on Chinese social media today.

The zhongkao is an important academic examination in China taken during the last year of junior high school, right before entering education institutions at the senior high school level. These enrollment examinations are held annually in June or July, depending on the region.

A good mark on the exam is of crucial importance for many students, as it will give them admission to their preferred senior high school, which then could have more profound effects on their education after high school and their further career.

According to the new policy, children of Hubei’s medical workers would be rewarded with ten extra points on top of their overall score for the exams if they take it. Since the exams are highly competitive, every extra point could mean a world of difference since it will mean leaving hundreds of other students behind you.

On Weibo, one announcement of the new measure published by Chinese news source The Paper received over 938.000 likes and more than 11.000 comments. Many Weibo users do not agree with the policy.

“It should be the medical workers themselves who are rewarded through promotion or a salary increase,” a top comment says: “It shouldn’t be their children who are rewarded.”

Although a majority of commenters say that medical workers should be given special rewards in these times of hardships, most also agree that rewarding their children in their exam results is not the way to go. “This only makes the exam system more unfair,” a recurring comment says.

With 610 million views at the time of writing, the hashtag “The kids of Hubei frontline medical staff will get extra 10 points on zhongkao score” (#湖北一线医务人员子女中考加10分#) is one of the most-dicussed topics on Weibo of the day.

For more COVID-19 related articles, please click here.

By Manya Koetse (@manyapan)
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©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Media

Online Outrage over Gansu Female Medical Workers Required to Shave Their Heads

Heroes of the coronavirus crisis or victims of visual propaganda? A video showing female medical workers having their heads shaved has triggered controversy.

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A Chinese media post praising female nurses for having their heads shaved has sparked outrage on Weibo and WeChat. Are these women heroes of the coronavirus crisis or victims of gendered visual propaganda?

A video showing tearful female medical workers having their head shaved before going to COVID-19 epicenter city Wuhan has sparked outrage on Chinese social media.

The video, originally posted by Gansu Daily (每日甘肃网) on February 15, shows how a group of female nurses is standing in line to have their hair shaved off in preparation of their mission to Hubei to assist during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

In the short segment that has since gone viral on Weibo and WeChat, some women can be seen crying while having all of their hair shaved off.

According to Gansu Daily and other Chinese media, the fifteen nurses, including one man, are part of a medical aid group that was sent out to Wuhan this weekend. Their hair was reportedly shaved off “in accordance with requirements” to make their work more efficient and reduce the risk of infection.

The original news post praises the women as “the epidemic’s heroes in harm’s way” (“疫情中最美的逆行者”) – a term also used to describe brave firefighters during the 2015 Tianjin explosions (for more background on this term in Chinese, also see Xinhua and Zhihu).

Although the story praises the female medical workers as heroes and was soon reposted and promoted by many other (state) media, it was not just met with positive reactions from Chinese netizens.

On the contrary: it triggered waves of criticism over the medical team’s supervisors requiring the women to shave off their hair, with many deeming the measures unnecessary, humiliating, and sexist.

“Why do they need to shave all of their hair, the men don’t even need to do that?!”, some Weibo commenters wonder.

Many Weibo users wonder how necessary it actually is for the women to go completely bold for medical work purposes, wondering why the male workers do not need to shave their heads and why the women could not just opt for a shorter hairstyle instead – suggesting the media circus surrounding the shaving of the heads is more about visual propaganda than actually being a necessity.

“I am a medical worker myself,” one Weibo user writes: “I consulted an infection control doctor [on this matter] and they said it is not necessary at all to have a bald head. Short hair is convenient enough, and hair has a protective function too to reduce [skin] irritation from the friction of wearing hats and masks. It furthermore also has a function of catching sweat, preventing it from dripping to your eyes. A shaven head does more harm than good.”

“Why do people need to bleed and cry in order for them to become heroes?”, others say: “This is just cruel.”

Adding to the online fury was a photo showing the group of medical workers after their heads were shaved, as the one male nurse in the group not only seemed to wear a better quality face mask, but also appeared to have much more hair left than the female nurses.

The original Gansu Daily post has since been deleted from social media.

On WeChat account Epoch Story (“epochstory2017″/Epoch故事小馆), author Chen Mashu (陈麻薯) posted a critique on February 17th titled “Please Stop Using Female Bodies as Propaganda Tools” (“请停止用女性的身体,作为宣传的工具“).

Recent online Chinese visual propaganda in times of the coronavirus crisis has seen a strong focus on Wuhan medical workers.

This kind of visual propaganda often highlights the idea of “sacrificing,” especially when it comes to women as pretty girls, loving mothers, or good wives.

In the WeChat article, author Chen argues that Chinese state media always uses women’s bodies as a tool for propaganda, and argues that it should not be necessary for women to endure extra hardship or suffering (in this case, sacrifice their hair) in order to make them admirable ‘model workers.’ The fact that they are fighting on the front line should be more than enough reason to praise them, Chen writes.

While these women’s tears were “used to try to impress the audience” and become an example of some “collectivist spirit,” Chen argues, this kind of propaganda backfired because the individual needs and wishes of these women were completely ignored during the process.

Although the original story and visuals may have meant to be empowering in times of coronacrisis, they are actually counterproductive to female empowerment at large.

This is not the first time the role of women in Chinese state media propaganda become a big topic of discussion online.

In 2016, a photo series titled “100.000 soldier-loving girls” (十万恋军女孩) posted by China’s Military Web during the Wuhan flood also caused controversy. In the online media campaign, Chinese state media paid a ‘tribute’ to rescue workers by sharing pictures of girls holding the message “I wish to wash your uniform for you”. It triggered online discussions on the submissive female image propagated by Chinese state media.

At time of writing, various posts about the shaved heads of the Gansu medical workers have been taken offline.

For more COVID-19 related articles, please click here.

By Manya Koetse (@manyapan) and Bobby Fung (@bobbyfungmr), with contributions by Miranda Barnes

Follow @whatsonweibo

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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