"Ballet on the cliff" enables children of Zhuang ethnic group to walk out of the mountains

“As I do enjoy rock climbing, I don’t feel bitter or tired at all,” said Lu Siyan, a 16-year-old girl of the Zhuang ethnic group studying at a middle school in Mashan county, in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region after taking part in a competition. Her dream is to join the provincial as well as the national rock climbing team.

Rock climbing is also called “ballet on the cliff”. Three years ago, as the junior high school where Lu studied began to offer rock climbing classes, she become one of the earliest learners. With the promotion of “rock climbing into the campus” in Mashan county, students with rock climbing skills can enter the best middle schools in the area.

A child takes part in a rock climbing competition in Mashan county. (Photo/Mashan Broadcasting and TV Station)

Thus, Lu not only came to her long-coveted Mashan Middle School, but also participated in a number of international competitions and joined an activity to walk out of the mountainous area they live through this activity.

“When I took part in a competition in India, it was the first time that I went abroad,” Lu shared her experience.

Mashan county was once a deep poverty-stricken county in Guangxi, however, it successfully took off the label of being a poor county in 2019.

Since 2016, Mashan county has held, in conjunction with the China Mountaineering Association, a series of international and domestic events such as rock climbing and mountain marathons, attracting athletes from more than 30 countries and regions, as well as a large number of Chinese and foreign tourists.

Mashan county has invested more than 15 million yuan (about $2.3 million) to build 22 rock climbing schools since 2017, covering an area of more than 3,000 square meters, and with the funds also set up a national youth climbing training team. 

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