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Fengdu - Ghost Town
The capital City of the other world

8 July 2006

Do you know where the capital city of the ghost world is? Well, a Chinese Daoist will tell you that it is the county town of Fengdu, on the upper reach of the Yangtze River in China's Sichuan province, just 172 kilometres from the Chongqing metropolitan. Every third day of every third lunar month, the town holds a Ghost Temple Fairs following the long tradition of the grand capital of the shadow world. During the festival, the locals celebrate the wedding anniversary of and the visit to their neighbourhood by His Majesty the Ghost.

According to the Daoist legend, everyone will be called to face the judgment of Ghost King upon death (except those who are promoted to Heaven straightway). But to successfully cross the border into the realm of the dead where the King’s courtroom situates, you’ll need a valid passport, which in the old days could be purchased at Fengdu county magistrate’s office. You don’t have to fill out any application forms though, as long as you pay in cash, an officer would happily issue the travel document, complete with a round red big seal to certify its authenticity.

Once you appear in the court before Ghost King (after your death, naturally), your good deeds and bad conducts are to be weighted against each other, and the outcome will determine whether you should be released back to the human community by way of reincarnation or sentenced to Hell.

The Hell, apparently, is like a multi-storeyed skyscraper (hellscraper). Some say there are total of 24 floors in it, others insist that it has only 18. In any case, it’s a big place.

Allegedly, the Hell ward guards (also known as "devils") on each floor are specialised in one of the particular torture techniques, which include hanging the inmates upside down and leave them in that sorrowful position indefinitely, taking their skin off, tearing heart from their body and frying them in boiling oil. The severity of the punishment depends on the seriousness of the offence. And if a crime is so horrendous and the convict is sentenced to life imprisonment (or should say death imhellment), the poor ghost would be subject to the torture over and over and over and over again, with no parole eligibility until eternity ...

A devil in Hell is preparing to fry a ghost

At the moment, the ambitious government of Fengdu (It's the government administered by people, not ghosts, of course) is undertaking a grand project to renovate the township to reflect its celebrated status as the CBD of the Other World. It is planned to erect the biggest statue of Ghost King on the planet, construct a scary ghost town to haunt the visitors and set up a Hell of terror to torture the tourists.

The whole project would cost an estimated 2,300 million yuans and is expected to be complete in August 2007. By then, if you are getting bored with your life of peace and comfort and eager to be haunted or tortured, you know where to go.


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