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Chinas rich hit by racing pigeon craze   Leave a comment

“KORTRIJK, BELGIUM – Rich Chinese pigeon fanciers are offering tens of thousands of euros to buy Belgian champions, to the despair of local pigeon-lovers unable to compete in such sky-high auction bids.Pigeon-breeding is an old Chinese passion, even though long-distance pigeon-racing has never caught on the way it has in northern Europe.In Belgium, the Netherlands, northern France, and Britain pigeon-racing can take place over distances of over 1,000 kilometres 660 miles with birds vying to return as quickly as possible to their home roost, their homing instinct allowing them to find the way.Champion racing pigeons can win large sums in prize money for their owners.In Belgium, pigeon-fancying had been on the decline in recent years, but the arrival of Chinese aficionados has changed the markets dynamic.Pigeon racing in China goes back to the Ming dynasty, when they were used as carrier pigeons. Banned during the Cultural Revolution, it made a comeback in the 1970s.According to Chinese state media, there are about 300,000 people in the country involved in the sport.In late January, a rich Chinese industrialist Hun Zhen Yu came to Europe and paid 250,000 euros S$328,000 for “Special Blue”, a world record for a champion.The birds former owner, Pieter Veenstra from Holland, has sold 245 pigeons over the past few years for more than two million euros, according to the specialised Pigeon Paradise PIPA website which claims that half its customers are from China.Rich Chinese fanciers will pay very large amounts “if the pigeon has won several prizes and is of good lineage,” said Nikolaas Gyselbrecht, the head of PIPA, speaking on the sidelines of the second world pigeon fair in Kortrijk, Belgium.”I think Belgium is the kingdom of homing pigeons,” said one of the fairs visitors, Johnson Kiang from Taiwan.But not everyone is pleased with the Chinese invasion.”

via Chinas rich hit by racing pigeon craze.

Posted March 11, 2012 by arnoneumann in China, sport

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