|Benches line the wide walkways in Renmin Park 人民公园 so that people who pass through on their way to work or to shop can take a moment to rest.
Once a race course, Renmin Park and the People's Square were built when racing and gambling were forbidden in 1949. Horse racing is still not a part of the Shanghai scene.
In 2004 a Formula One race track was opened with a 3.4 mile course. Cars and motorcycles take the place of horses. Perhaps that is more appropriate for a city which manufactures so many of China's cars. (The Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation produced 1.5 million vehicles in 2005 according to Shanghai GM).
Horse racing can only be found in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Macau. The Happy Valley and Sha Tin courses run by the Hong Kong Jockey Club bring in 11.5 billion dollars a year. The Hong Kong Jockey Club, a non-profit organization, has used surplus revenue to build rent controlled housing, support museums, and numerous other charitable works.
On the mainland, the government has maintained it's anti-gambling policy. A race track opened outside Beijing in 2001, but closed when government policies tightened in 2005. Over 600 horses had to be euthanized as the course was placed in moth balls. Gambling is considered akin to drug trafficking and slavery. China is probably better off quarantining gambling to Macau and Hong Kong. It does not yet have the infrastructure to regulate an industry that attracts corruption.
China Index >> Shanghai, Bund, and Pudong >> People's Park, Shanghai
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Last update: February 2007
© Marilyn Shea 1996, 1999, 2002, 2007