Southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region is known for its legendary status as the country’s “home of long life”.
Bama County boasts 96 people over the age of 100 among its 300,000 residents, according to local government records. At 32 centenarians per 100,000 people, the county still lags behind the world leader, Japan, where the proportion is 48 per 100,000. Nevertheless, Bama County boasts a rate of over-100-year-olds that is more than 10 times China’s national average.
Of the county’s centenarians, sprightly 112-year-old Huang Ma Kun is one of the most famous. She doesn’t eat anything sweet and gives non-local foods such as milk or bread a wide berth. Her favourite delicacy is the youyu, or “oily fish”.
Huang is something of a celebrity, her age a huge draw for the county’s many visitors who seek not only to witness, but also to benefit from the area’s supposed life-extending properties.
Millions of tourists will visit Bama County this year and the government has taken steps to curb the impact that such massive human traffic has begun to produce …