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A Visit to Mulan's Hometown

As her action greatly offended the emperor, not a single word was recorded about Mulan's heroic merits in history books written by the imperial court. That, however, couldn't stop the legendary stories about the heroic woman from circulating among the people. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907) the Temple of Mulan was built in her hometown and various renovations were made to the temple during the many reigns that followed. It has been custom that on the eighth day of the fourth lunar month every year people from neighboring areas gather for a grand pilgrim's assembly at the temple. After the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, the story about Mulan began to be widely represented in operas, stories, paintings and other Chinese folk art forms, such as ballad singing, story telling, comic dialogues and cross talks, making the heroic figure known to almost all Chinese people.

At he side of a lotus pond opposite the temple there are two tombs 3 meters high and 5 meters in circumference which,
a statue of Mulan
according to the villagers, are the burial places of Mulan and her parents. Although the gravestones no longer exist today, local people reshape the earth tombs every year to show their respect to the heroine.

In Yucheng County, people encounter Mulan everywhere. In the flower bed at a downtown intersection stands a granite statue of Mulan in army uniform riding a horse and holding sword in hand. And there are great many places named "Mulan"--Mulan Hotel, Mulan Market, Mulan Enterprise Group, and so on. Many local products have Mulan as registered trade mark. When I ate at the restaurant at Mulan Hotel, I was served Mulan wine, Mulan noodles and Mulan pastries. What's more, according the hotel attendants the local people practice Mulan boxing and Mulan dance.

Yucheng had long been a poor county. Reform and opening, however, and especially the opening of the Beijing-Kowloon Railway which runs past here, brought to the county many chances for development. Now with painstaking efforts in farm production, poultry raising and food processing, the county had become an important base for fruit production and meat packing materials. The county's 500,000 mu of Red Fuju apples yield an annual output of several hundred million kilograms for export. The exported sausage casing shares 22 percent of Japan's domestic merit. The local Kedi Enterprises Group has been listed in the country's top 500 firms. The once poverty-stricken county has taken on an entirely new look today.


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