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Mapping Chinese Modernization: Wenchang 'freestyle' volleyball

Global Stringer


Wenchang in south China's Hainan Province is reputed as one of the major powerhouses of volleyball in China. In the 1910s, volleyball was introduced to Wenchang by returned overseas Chinese, marking the birth of the sport in the region. At that time, though living in poverty, villagers created volleyball courts by pulling fishing nets between trees and made balls with coconut leaves and pomelo peels. They also hit the ball with their heads or stools. It is these unique traits and the continuing passion for the sport that makes Wenchang volleyball so special.

Now, nearly each village in Wenchang has its own volleyball court. And this summer, Wenchang township volleyball league provided a stage for local enthusiasts. Ranging in age from 14 to 59, participating teams contested for prizes including 99 Wenchang chickens and a live ox. If you are wondering what Chinese modernization is, click this video and you may find answers in the passion of Wenchang people and get dazzled by all the various ways they play volleyball.

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