In this small world that we live in, there’s a small kingdom in China where small people having a stature below 4 ft 3 inches ...
In this small world that we live in, there’s a small kingdom in China where small people having a stature below 4 ft 3 inches live. And that is dwarf theme park “Dwarf Empire Amusement Park” (also known as “Kingdom of the Little People”) which is situated near Kunming, Yunnan. Inhabiting more than 100 dwarves, it lies in a village in the mountains of Southern China. It also has a police station and fire brigade of its own.
Though it seems to be a modern-day “freakshow” and has garnered criticism for being politically incorrect, the employed dwarves here are given a chance to lead a good life in a safe environment with decent wages.
An entrepreneur & a wealthy real estate investor Chen Mingjing founded the theme park in September 2009 as a part of a complex that is owned by him near Dian Lake. Including the World Butterfly Ecological Park, it is in the western suburbs of Kunming.
In 2010, more than 100 employees of age ranging from 19 to 48 were employed. As compared to what most of the dwarves are earning in that region, the people who are employed here earn a wage of $147 per month with guaranteed housing. They live in nearby dormitories that were specially constructed to be accessible to short people.
Currently, students from nearby towns are the major visitors to the park. Mingjing aspires to transform the park into a tourist destination for those visiting China. English lessons are also provided to the employees so that they can even interact with foreign tourists. Chen’s aim is to expand the existing kingdom employing 1,000 people with dwarfism.
The little performers entertain the visiting tourists by singing, dancing, presenting Qigong (a type of spiritual practice) and scenes from fairy tales or ballets. They even perform hip-hop dances sometimes.
Two daily shows are performed to the tourists by over 100 dwarves living in a fantasy world in mushroom-like castles ruled by an emperor and empress. A speech by 3.3-foot-tall "Dwarf King" is often featured in the performances. He wears a gold silk cape and rides a 3-wheeled motorcycle.
Little People of America, Handicap International, and many organizations have criticized the theme park. The critics contend that it looks like a human zoo and cuts them off from the others in society. Its owner Chen asserts that the park offers employment to many of those who would otherwise be unemployed.
Most of the employees have said that they feel less lonely here and enjoy living with other dwarves. They said that before being employed at the park, either they couldn’t find work or were getting exploited. The American television channel ‘Vice’ created a documentary film for their show ‘Vice Essentials’ in 2015 in which they interviewed the staff, took a park tour, and included the dorms and places where visitors aren’t allowed.
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