Huaxi is China’s richest village. What does it look like?

Shi Yangkun - A presidential suite’s bathroom, Huaxi Village
Shi Yangkun – A presidential suite’s bathroom, Huaxi Village

China’s model socialst village is also it’s richest

At the middle of the 1980s the collectivization1 process ended up failing in China. But even so, there are repercussions to deal with and the countryside in particular still retains some of the ideas such as individualism, privatization or marketization. There are villages like Huaxi2, Nanjie3 or Dazhai that continue to be collectivized. This is a clear testament that some dreams and ideas live on, regardless of the situation.

Depiction of the town’s future, Huaxi Village
Depiction of the town’s future, Huaxi Village

Video: Huaxi: How did it get rich?

5min 33 sec

China’s richest village Huaxi: How did it get rich? Take a look at China’s super village, a village so successful in blending socialist ideals with capitalist growth that it seems to have inspired even the North Korean regime. Find out how did Jiangsu’s Huaxi Village manage to get so rich in the first place.

‘Retrotopia’ by Shi Yangkun

Retrotopia is a series created by photographer Shi Yangkun. It uses photos to showcase the unique tension between all those utopian visions of these communities and the day to day life that these persons are dealing with. It captures resounding, beautiful landscapes and it also manages to tell the story of those people living there, in a present greatly affected by their past. In many ways, Retrotopia shows the true influence brought by collectivization and it shows that some ideas will never die. Shi Yangkun’s project is one of his many ideas as he tries to bring in a clever and natural perspective to the reality of our current times. He works as a photographer in Shanghai and he has an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography.

Video: Huaxi documentary

4min 43 sec

Huaxi, formerly a poor farming community, is a powerhouse symbol of the country’s economic expansion, embodied by a giant 328-meter skyscraper.

Photos

Exteriors

Shi Yangkun - A corner of the town square in Nanjie, Henan province, 2018
Shi Yangkun – A corner of the town square in Nanjie, Henan province, 2018

Shi Yangkun - Buildings under construction in Nanjie, Henan province, 2018
Shi Yangkun – Buildings under construction in Nanjie, Henan province, 2018

Shi Yangkun - Fireworks at a restaurant-opening, Huaxi Village
Shi Yangkun – Fireworks at a restaurant-opening, Huaxi Village

Shi Yangkun - Forest park doorway, Dazhai Village
Shi Yangkun – Forest park doorway, Dazhai Village

Shi Yangkun - Horse grazing in a park, Huaxi Village
Shi Yangkun – Horse grazing in a park, Huaxi Village

Shi Yangkun - Hot air balloon, Huaxi Village
Shi Yangkun – Hot air balloon, Huaxi Village

Shi Yangkun - House near farmland, Huaxi Village
Shi Yangkun – House near farmland, Huaxi Village

Shi Yangkun - Motorcycle cage riders, Huaxi Village
Shi Yangkun – Motorcycle cage riders, Huaxi Village

Shi Yangkun - Students visit the square at the entrance to Dazhai Village, Shanxi province, 2018
Shi Yangkun – Students visit the square at the entrance to Dazhai Village, Shanxi province, 2018

Shi Yangkun - The Long Wish Hotel, a 328-meter-high tower that was the eighth-tallest building in the world, Huaxi, Jiangsu province, 2018
Shi Yangkun – The Long Wish Hotel, a 328-meter-high tower that was the eighth-tallest building in the world, Huaxi, Jiangsu province, 2018

Shi Yangkun - The town square, Nanjie Village
Shi Yangkun – The town square, Nanjie Village

Shi Yangkun
Shi Yangkun

Interiors

Shi Yangkun - A banquet hall, Huaxi Village
Shi Yangkun – A banquet hall, Huaxi Village

Shi Yangkun - A hotel bathroom, Nanjie Village
Shi Yangkun – A hotel bathroom, Nanjie Village

Shi Yangkun - A kitchen table, Huaxi Village
Shi Yangkun – A kitchen table, Huaxi Village

Shi Yangkun - Abandoned swimming pool, Nanjie Village
Shi Yangkun – Abandoned swimming pool, Nanjie Village

Shi Yangkun - A meeting room at the Long Wish Hotel in Huaxi, Jiangsu province, 2018
Shi Yangkun – A meeting room at the Long Wish Hotel in Huaxi, Jiangsu province, 2018

Shi Yangkun - A meeting room, Huaxi Village
Shi Yangkun – A meeting room, Huaxi Village

Shi Yangkun - A plant in a meeting room, Huaxi Village
Shi Yangkun – A plant in a meeting room, Huaxi Village

Shi Yangkun - Assembly hall auditorium, Huaxi Village
Shi Yangkun – Assembly hall auditorium, Huaxi Village

Shi Yangkun - Cups and thermoses, Huaxi Village
Shi Yangkun – Cups and thermoses, Huaxi Village

Shi Yangkun - Hotel room TV, Huaxi Village
Shi Yangkun – Hotel room TV, Huaxi Village

Shi Yangkun - Village committee office, Dazhai Village
Shi Yangkun – Village committee office, Dazhai Village

Portraits

Shi Yangkun - A resting schoolgirl, Nanjie Village
Shi Yangkun – A resting schoolgirl, Nanjie Village

Shi Yangkun - Chen Haiting, 17, Huaxi Village
Shi Yangkun – Chen Haiting, 17, Huaxi Village

Shi Yangkun - Chen Jing, 22, Nanjie Village
Shi Yangkun – Chen Jing, 22, Nanjie Village

Shi Yangkun - Ge Xiaming, 32, Huaxi Village
Shi Yangkun – Ge Xiaming, 32, Huaxi Village

Shi Yangkun - Ge Xiaotong poses for a photo at his office in Huaxi, Jiangsu province, 2018
Shi Yangkun – Ge Xiaotong poses for a photo at his office in Huaxi, Jiangsu province, 2018

Shi Yangkun - Guo Tianlong, from Nanjie Village, sits on a pingpong table in Henan province, 2018
Shi Yangkun – Guo Tianlong, from Nanjie Village, sits on a pingpong table in Henan province, 2018

Shi Yangkun - Huaxi’s Party secretary Wu Xie’en poses for a photo at a meeting room in Huaxi, Jiangsu province, 2018
Shi Yangkun – Huaxi’s Party secretary Wu Xie’en poses for a photo at a meeting room in Huaxi, Jiangsu province, 2018

Shi Yangkun - Left- Cui Miaoyun poses for a portrait at home; right- A worker at a noodle factory in Nanjie, Henan province, 2018
Shi Yangkun – Left- Cui Miaoyun poses for a portrait at home; right- A worker at a noodle factory in Nanjie, Henan province, 2018

Shi Yangkun - Li Aoxin, 12, Nanjie Village
Shi Yangkun – Li Aoxin, 12, Nanjie Village

Shi Yangkun - Li Xuyu, 23, Dazhai Village
Shi Yangkun – Li Xuyu, 23, Dazhai Village

Shi Yangkun - Li Zilong, 16, Dazhai Village
Shi Yangkun – Li Zilong, 16, Dazhai Village

Shi Yangkun - Nanjie Village-born Guo Tianlong, 18, Zhengzhou, Henan province
Shi Yangkun – Nanjie Village-born Guo Tianlong, 18, Zhengzhou, Henan province

Shi Yangkun - Su Chuncheng, 20, Huaxi Village
Shi Yangkun – Su Chuncheng, 20, Huaxi Village

Shi Yangkun - Sun Zheng, animal tamer, Huaxi Village
Shi Yangkun – Sun Zheng, animal tamer, Huaxi Village

Shi Yangkun - Two dancers, Nanjie Village
Shi Yangkun – Two dancers, Nanjie Village

Shi Yangkun - Wang Hongbin, 67, head of Nanjie Village
Shi Yangkun – Wang Hongbin, 67, head of Nanjie Village

Shi Yangkun - Zhao Minfei, 30, Huaxi Village
Shi Yangkun – Zhao Minfei, 30, Huaxi Village

Shi Yangkun - Zhao Mingxing poses for a photo in Dazhai, Shanxi province, 2018
Shi Yangkun – Zhao Mingxing poses for a photo in Dazhai, Shanxi province, 2018

Shi Yangkun - Zhao Zhibing, farmer, Dazhai Village
Shi Yangkun – Zhao Zhibing, farmer, Dazhai Village

Shi Yangkun - Zhou Hui, 28, Huaxi Village
Shi Yangkun – Zhou Hui, 28, Huaxi Village

Shi Yangkun - Zhu Jifang, 25, Huaxi Village
Shi Yangkun – Zhu Jifang, 25, Huaxi Village

All images Shi Yangkun/shiyangkun.com unless otherwise noted.

Related works

Related readings

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collective_farming#China
  2. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/huaxi-the-socialist-village-where-everyone-is-wealthy-6290583.html
  3. https://www.wired.com/2016/01/tim-fenby-china/
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