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海南

GOLF'S SECRET BOOM IN HAINAN, CHINA
海南:隐秘的高尔夫热

不久之后,海南观澜湖的名字将为大多数人所知——这将成为世界最大的高尔夫球场和唯一一座自给自足的高尔夫之城。但是,为何现在它只以神秘的“791项目”为外人所知?

If you are flying into Haikou from the west, you can see it. Sit on the right-hand side of the aircraft and look out of your window. It's there. Viewed from above, this vast swathe of land may not look like much – fuzzy green vegetation, shadowy pockets of volcanic rock, incongruous veins of reddish brown soil – but in a couple of years it will make history. Locals refer to this area by its code name: Project 791. Soon, most people will know it as Mission Hills Hainan, the largest collection of golf courses in the world.

如果你从西面飞抵海口,就能够看到它。坐在飞机右侧向窗外望去,它就在那里。俯瞰之时,这片广袤的狭长土地看上去并不怎么样——乱蓬蓬的绿色植被、一堆堆朦胧的火山岩、一条条杂乱无章的红褐色土壤带——但再过几年,这里将创造历史。当地人用代号称呼这片区域:791项目。不久后,它将以海南观澜湖(Mission Hills Hainan)的名字将为大多数人所知——这将是世界上最大的高尔夫球场。

The scope of the multi-billion-dollar project is staggering. It occupies 80sq km of forest and shrubland – an area the size of Hong Kong island – in north-east Hainan, the island province long touted as China's answer to Hawaii. Once completed, it will feature 22 golf courses, at a stroke doubling the number on Hainan today. It's been in the works since 2006 and for more than two years, thousands of workers have been clearing trees, moving soil, building greens, fairways, clubhouses and luxury hotels.

项目的规模之大令人震惊。长期以来,海南省一直被誉为中国的夏威夷。这个价值数十亿美元的项目位于海南省东北部,占据了80平方公里的森林与灌木林——面积与香港岛相当。完工后,这里将有22块高尔夫球场,一举将海南现有的球场数目增加一倍。项目于2006年开工,两年多来,数千名工人一直在砍伐树木、搬运泥土、修建草坪、高尔夫球道、俱乐部会所和豪华酒店。

And yet aspects of the project remain as mysterious as the island on which it sits. In fact, the man most closely connected to the Mission Hills venture in Hainan denies its very existence.

然而,项目的前景依然和它所在的岛屿一样神秘。事实上,与海南观澜湖项目关系最紧密的那个人甚至否认项目的存在。

When I first met Ken Chu, vice-chairman of Mission Hills Group and one of the most powerful men in China's burgeoning golf industry, I was wearing yellow plastic bags over my shoes. Our interview was to take place in an $11m villa, one of the many that line the fairways at Mission Hills Golf Club in Shenzhen, the Chinese business hub north of Hong Kong. I was told that everyone who entered the show home must don the protective shoe coverings. Shuffling past a white grand piano I took a seat in a living room whose styling might best be described as neo-Liberace. When Chu arrived, the first thing I noticed was his shoes – stylish, black, leather and uncovered. I stood up to greet the 35-year-old mogul and cheap plastic crackled beneath my feet.

与观澜湖集团副主席、中国蓬勃发展的高尔夫行业最具权势的人物之一——朱鼎健(Ken Chu)初次会面时,我鞋子上套着黄色塑料袋。会面地点约在一栋售价1100万美元的别墅——深圳观澜湖高尔夫球会(Mission Hills Golf Club)内沿着球道修建的众多别墅之一。我被告知,每个进入样板间的人都必须穿鞋套。我拖着脚走过一架白色的钢琴,来到一间最好是用新里波拉齐(neo-Liberace,美国表演家、钢琴家,舞台造型华丽夸张——译者注)风格来形容的客厅,找了个座位坐下。朱鼎健进门的时候,我首先注意的是他的鞋子——时髦的黑色皮鞋,没有穿鞋套。我起身迎接这位35岁的高尔夫巨子,脚下的廉价塑料窸窣作响。

For now, Mission Hills Shenzhen touts itself as the “World's No. 1”, and Guinness World Records plays along, labelling the 20sq km, 12-course golf club the largest on the planet, even though Nanshan International Golf Club in north-eastern China has 63 more holes. Opened in 1994 by Chu's billionaire father, Hong Kong businessman David Chu, this is golf on steroids. Each of the 12 courses was designed by one of the biggest names in the sport, from Faldo to Nicklaus to Norman. Mission Hills Shenzhen also features the world's largest clubhouse, Asia's largest spa and, for good measure, the continent's largest tennis centre.

目前,深圳观澜湖自诩为“世界第一”,吉尼斯世界纪录也予以配合,将这个面积20平方公里、拥有12个高尔夫球场的俱乐部评为世界第一大球会,尽管中国东北的南山国际高尔夫俱乐部比它多63个球洞。深圳观澜湖由朱鼎健的父亲、香港亿万富翁朱树豪(David Chu)于1994年创立,将高尔夫做到了极致。12个球场,每一个都是由高尔夫界最有名的人士设计的,从费度(Faldo)到尼科劳斯(Nicklaus)再到诺曼(Norman)。深圳观澜湖还拥有世界最大的俱乐部会所、亚洲最大的Spa,此外还有亚洲最大的网球中心。

Towards the end of our meeting, I brought up Hainan. I asked Chu how many courses Mission Hills had planned there. It was the first time I saw him flustered. “We, um, it's not so much on the course development,” he stumbled. “Actually, we haven't even started. We haven't even talked about this project. It's something in the pipeline, in discussion, but it's not purely on golf. It's a tourist destination.”

采访临近尾声时,我提到了海南,问朱鼎健计划在那里修建多少块球场。我第一次看到他流露出了紧张的神情。“我们,呃,那里主要不是建球场,”他吞吞吐吐地说道。“实际上,我们甚至还没有开始,甚至还没有讨论这个项目。它还在筹备中、在讨论中,但它不是一个纯粹的高尔夫项目,而是一个旅游度假地。”

“So, it's just too early to say anything?” I asked. “Maybe at this stage,” Chu said, “because there's nothing to talk about.”

“也就是说,现在说什么都为时过早?”我问道。“现阶段或许是这样,”朱鼎健表示,“因为没有什么可说的。”

This was in July last year. When I travelled to Hainan in August, I discovered that not only was there something worth talking about, but a large part of the project was nearing completion. Six golf courses had been shaped and seeded. Three more – including the showpiece “tournament course” – were even further along. They looked perfectly playable, lush and green, with local women in rattan hats the shape of Tiffany lampshades putting the finishing touches to the white-sand bunkers.

那是去年的7月份。8月份我去海南时,发现不仅有值得讨论的东西,而且项目的很大一部分已接近完工。6块高尔夫球场已经成型,并开始播种。还有3块——包括作为样板的“巡回赛场地”——进度甚至更快。它们看起来郁郁葱葱,完全可以用来打球了。当地妇女头戴形似蒂芙尼灯罩的斗笠,正在对白色沙坑进行最后的修饰。

The tournament course is stunning. With its irregular lines and eroded sand traps, it manages to appear rugged and natural, even though there is little natural about it. Incorporated into the design are old, overgrown lava-rock walls and archways left over from the land's previous occupants, along with some mature lychee, ficus and acacia trees that managed to elude the clear-cutter. The result is a landscape that looks like it has been there for decades, maybe centuries, not months. A drive along the cart path, made from crushed lava rock, has the flavour of a Jurassic safari – that is, until you see the massive hotel and clubhouse looming on the horizon.

巡回赛场地极其出彩。不规则的线条和沙坑让它看起来粗糙而又天然,尽管这里没有多少东西是天然的。设计中融入了以前居住者留下来的杂草蔓生的火山石围墙和拱门,还有一些躲过了被砍伐命运的成熟荔枝树、榕树和金合欢树。结果,整片景观看起来就像已经存在了数十年、甚至是数百年,而不是只有几个月。沿着球车道用碎火山岩铺设的行车道有一种侏罗纪游猎之旅的味道——不过,那是在你看到地平线上隐隐显现的雄伟酒店与俱乐部会所之前。

It is all remarkably telegenic, and by design. The talk is that in 2011 the Mission Hills Hainan tournament course will become the new location for either golf's Omega-sponsored World Cup, currently a fixture at Mission Hills Shenzhen, or of the HSBC Champions, the tournament dubbed “Asia's Major”. That event, with $7m in prize money, draws some of the biggest names in the sport and has been held in Shanghai since its launch in 2005. Professional Golf Association representatives, I was told, have toured Mission Hills Hainan. And Ken Chu flies in every two weeks to monitor progress on the project.

这一切都非常上镜,而且经过精心设计。据说,海南观澜湖巡回赛球场2011年将成为高尔夫世界杯(World Cup)或汇丰冠军赛(HSBC Champions)的举办地。高尔夫世界杯目前固定在深圳观澜湖举办。奖金700万美元的汇丰冠军赛被称为“亚洲顶级赛事”,吸引了高尔夫界的一些重量级人物,自2005年创办以来一直在上海举行。我听说,美国职业高尔夫协会(PGA)的代表已经参观过海南观澜湖。而朱鼎健每隔一周就会飞来视察一下项目进展。

The moans of bullfrogs emanating from the marshland along the 18th fairway are replaced by the ping ping of hammers hitting metal. Chain-smoking labourers, skin brown and weathered by the tropical sun, plug away at the two dramatic structures that form the backdrop to the course's closing hole. Fashioned in Mediterranean Revival style, they are white with red and black tile roofs.

锤子敲击金属的砰砰声已经取代了18号球道旁沼泽地里传来的蛙鸣。吸烟不断、被热带阳光晒得皮肤黝黑的工人们辛勤地修建着两座引人注目的建筑。这两座地中海复兴风格的建筑构成了球场最后一个球洞的背景——白色墙壁映衬着红色和黑色的瓦状屋顶。

In reality, this will be the world's only self-contained golf city. Its 22 courses will cover every style imaginable – from links to desert to Augusta-like perfection – and include some decidedly non-traditional designs. Picture yourself playing into a waterfall, through a cave, around a volcano, or over a replica of the Great Wall. There will be multiple town centres with luxury homes and apartments, hotels and spas, shopping malls and streets lined with restaurants and bars. The Chus are turning countryside into suburbia, no doubt raising surrounding property values and creating thousands of jobs along the way.

事实上,这里将成为世界上唯一一座自给自足的高尔夫之城。它的22块球场将涵盖能够想到的所有风格——从草地到沙地,再到奥古斯塔(Augusta)似的完美——还包括一些完全反传统的设计。想象一下你将球击入瀑布、穿过洞穴、绕过火山或是飞过一段仿造的长城。城中有多个中心区域,配有奢华的别墅与公寓、酒店和Spa、购物中心以及布满餐厅和酒吧的街道。朱氏家族正在将乡村变成城郊居住区,无疑会提升周边的地产价值,同时创造数千个工作机会。

But why the reticence when I inquired about the Hainan development? Why does a golf project require a code name? There is a one-word answer to such questions: China. The country's latest moratorium on golf course construction was brought in more than five years ago, and is still technically in place. In China, golf remains a prohibitively expensive, elitist pursuit – inescapably linked to corruption in the minds of many – and, some believe, its expansion runs counter to several of President Hu Jintao's primary concerns: among them the environment, the plight of farmers and the widening gap between rich and poor. A project that absorbs 20,000 acres of open land and directly affects the lives of tens of thousands of poor rural families is bound to create controversy. For Mission Hills, for now, the less fanfare the better.

但当我问及海南开发项目时,朱鼎健为何会保持缄默呢?为什么一个高尔夫球场要代号呢?用一个词就能回答这些问题:中国。中国最新的高尔夫球场建设限令是在5年多前实施的,严格来讲,迄今依然有效。在中国,高尔夫依然是一种昂贵得高不可攀的精英运动——在许多人心中不可避免地会将它与腐败联系在一起——而且有人认为,高尔夫运动的发展与胡锦涛最关心的一些问题相悖:其中包括环境问题、农民的困境以及日益扩大的贫富差距。一个占用2万英亩空旷土地、直接影响到数万个贫困农村家庭的项目必然会引起争议。对观澜湖集团而言,现在越低调越好。

Given all that, how could such an audacious project get the go-ahead? Why would someone even consider trying to open a golf club nearly one-and-a-half times the size of Manhattan? And how could construction go virtually unnoticed and unreported for more than a year? There's an answer to these questions, too, and it is also China. In the years since the government announced its supposed golf course moratorium, the number of courses has nearly trebled to an estimated 600 or so. In China, there is always a way.

既然如此,为什么这样一个大胆的项目能够被放行呢?为什么还会有人考虑尝试建设一个面积为曼哈顿1.5倍的高尔夫俱乐部呢?建设工程怎么能够进行了一年多却几乎无人察觉,也没有报道呢?这些问题也有一个答案,还是那个词:中国。政府宣布所谓的高尔夫球场建设禁令以来的几年里,球场数量近乎增加了两倍,估计在600块左右。在中国,你总能找到对策。

And that is especially true in Hainan, where golf is now viewed as a vital part of the province's development. When modern China's first golf course opened in 1984, Hainan was four years away from becoming a fully-fledged province, and most mainland Chinese still regarded it with equal parts curiosity and fear. Despite its proximity to the mainland – Haikou, Hainan's capital, lies just 30km from the southern tip of Guangdong province – for centuries it had been characterised as a typhoon-prone outpost inhabited by mysterious natives, ruthless pirates, banished criminals and exiled officials. Indeed, prior to his expulsion to Hainan in 848, disgraced Tang Dynasty chief minister Li Deyu famously wrote that he was being sent to the “gate of hell”.

在海南尤为如此。如今高尔夫已经被看作海南省发展战略的重要组成部分。现代中国的第一块高尔夫球场于1984年开业,而海南直到4年之后才成为一个独立的省份。当时,中国内地的大多数人对于海南依然既好奇又恐惧。尽管海南毗邻大陆——其省会海口距离广东省南端只有30公里——但几个世纪以来,海南一直被描绘成一个易受台风袭击的偏远之地,居住着神秘的土著、残忍的海盗、流放的犯人和遭贬谪的官员。事实上,唐朝遭谪宰相李德裕在公元848年被流放至海南前,曾著诗称自己将赴“鬼门关”。

The reputation stuck. One Hainan local said that when he arrived on the mainland in the 1980s to attend university, his fellow students were surprised to discover he didn't have a tail. But it was also during this decade of reform that top-ranking officials began referring to Hainan as China's “treasure island”, both for its rich natural resources and its sun-blessed, palm-lined beaches. Though poor, backward and corrupt, Hainan had potential, but it seemed no one could agree for what.

这个名声流传了下来。一位海南当地人表示,当他上世纪80年代来到内地上大学时,同学们发现他没有长尾巴,都感到很惊讶。但也是在这10年改革期间,高层官员们开始把海南称为中国的“宝岛”,这既是因为当地自然资源丰富,也因为这里的海滩阳光灿烂、棕榈树成行。虽然贫困、落后而腐败,海南却拥有潜力,但似乎没人能够就此达成共识。

As China's middle class continued to grow, its appeal as a tourist destination came to the fore. And last year, after decades of false starts, the provincial government announced plans to make tourism the “pillar” of the local economy, to rival destinations such as Phuket and Bali. Golf, once banned by the communists as bourgeois, is expected to play a big role in this repositioning. At last count, Hainan – slightly bigger than Belgium – had 22 courses, although many people believe it could easily reach 100 within five years.

随着中国中产阶层的持续壮大,海南作为旅游目的地的吸引力逐渐显现出来。去年,在经过数十年不成功的尝试后,海南省政府宣布计划让旅游业成为当地经济的“支柱”,与泰国的普吉岛和印尼的巴厘岛等地竞争。曾被共产党视为资产阶级思想而遭到禁止的高尔夫运动,有望在这一重新定位中发挥巨大作用。根据最新测算,面积略大于比利时的海南拥有22个高尔夫球场,不过许多人相信,这个数字在5年内就会轻松达到100。

While a negligible percentage of the population plays golf, China is one of the few places in the world where golf course construction is booming. “Everyone who is even thinking about golf course design is here in China,” said Haikou-based Richard Mon, vice-president of China operations for Schmidt-Curley Golf Design, the US company behind all 34 of Mission Hills' China courses. “If you're not, you don't have any work. Everywhere else in the world is done.” Golf in modern China is in its infancy – the game here is still four years younger than Sergio Garcia – and the speed of its growth will no doubt be accelerated by its inclusion in the 2016 Olympics, a move that should give the sport some legitimacy in the eyes of the once-sceptical Chinese government.

尽管打高尔夫的人口比例可以忽略不计,中国却是全球为数不多的几个高尔夫球场建设蓬勃发展的国家之一。“只要考虑高尔夫球场设计的人都在中国这里,”观澜湖全部34个中国球场的设计公司——美国Schmidt-Curley Golf Design驻海口的中国业务副总裁理查德•蒙(Richard Mon)表示,“如果不在这里,你就没有工作。世界其它地区的建设都已经完成。”现代中国的高尔夫运动正处于初期阶段,在中国的寿命比塞吉奥•加西亚(Sergio Garcia)的职业年龄还要短4年。该运动被列为2016年奥运会比赛项目,无疑会加速它的发展,会在曾经持怀疑态度的中国政府眼中拥有一些合法性。

What's less certain, though, is whether the provision of 100 golf courses – let alone the 200 to 300 touted by one provincial official – makes sense on Hainan, an island with 8.5 million predominately rural inhabitants, only about 3,000 of whom play. While most Hainan courses are fully booked during the winter peak tourist season, the insufferable heat and relentless rains of summer keep away all but the most dedicated or frugal (greens fees are often heavily discounted during the quiet months). The struggling global economy has also taken a toll on business.

然而,目前不太确定的是,在海南建设100个高尔夫球场——更别提一位政府官员吹嘘的200到300个球场了——是否有意义。海南岛拥有850万人口(主要为农民),只有约3000人打高尔夫。尽管在冬季的旅游旺季,海南多数球场都被预定一空,但在热得令人难以忍受、雨水不断的夏季,几乎就连最敬业或是最节俭的人也不会来这里打球(在淡季,草坪费通常会打很高的折扣)。步履维艰的全球经济也对业务造成了影响。

But such quibbles may be missing the larger truth about golf course development in Hainan, and throughout much of China: the number of golf courses built has very little to do with the number of golfers available to play on them. With few exceptions, golf courses exist to help sell luxury villas. Developers do not worry if a course sits empty, as long as the properties around it sell. And so far in Hainan, selling homes has not been a problem. Wealthy bosses from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and central China's coal belt fly in and buy up the villas, sometimes several at a time, often paying in cash. In China, to own a home on a golf course does not necessarily mean you play the game. It's more about prestige. Golf, like luxury sedans and handbags, is just another way to project your wealth.

不过,这种吹毛求疵可能忽略了海南和中国很多地区开发高尔夫球场的更重要事实:高尔夫球场的数量与选手的多少没什么关系。高尔夫球场的存在几乎毫无例外地是为了帮助销售豪华别墅。只要周边的房产可以卖出去,开发商才不关心球场是否有人去打。到目前为止,在海南售房并不是问题。来自北京、上海、广州和中国中部煤炭大省的富有老板们飞到这里购买别墅,有时一买几套,通常支付的是现金。在中国,在高尔夫球场拥有一幢房产并不一定意味着打高尔夫。它更多的是一个身份问题。就像豪华汽车和手袋一样,高尔夫是展示财富的另一种方式。

During the planning and proposal stage, however, golf is rarely mentioned. That is how developers get around the supposed national moratorium on building courses. “No one calls it a golf course now,” one industry insider told me. “Instead, it's a green space or it's equestrian or it's an exercise field. They are creative. But the government knows. It's just all about loopholes.”

但在规划和建议阶段,高尔夫很少被提及。开发商就是这样绕过国家的球场建设禁令的。“现在没人称之为高尔夫球场,”一位业内人士告诉我,“而是将它称作绿地、马场或练习场。他们很有创意。但政府心里明白。这就是漏洞。”

For example, in 2008 the China Youth Daily reported that the word “golf” does not appear in Mission Hills' agreement with the local government to develop in Hainan. According to the newspaper, the document describes a “land consolidation” project that will “improve the production and living standards of the local farmers and promote the building of a new socialist countryside”.

例如,2008年,《中国青年报》(China Youth Daily)报道称,“高尔夫”一词没有出现在观澜湖与当地政府签订的海南开发协议中。该报称,文件描述了一个将“提升当地农民生产生活水平,促进社会主义新农村建设”的“土地整理”项目。

Hainan bills itself as China's greenest province, and in many ways it is the tropical paradise it is touted to be, a literal breath of fresh air for those travelling in from the mainland. But the past several decades of property development and slash-and-burn agriculture have taken their toll on the island's ecology. Like many current golf projects on Hainan, the Mission Hills development primarily occupies acreage that the government has classified as huangdi, or “wasteland”. But this only means that the land was either never used by man or is no longer used by man. It doesn't take into account its ecological merits. “If they only build on true wasteland, then there is no problem,” said one conservationist active in Hainan. “To me, the [Mission Hills] area next to Haikou is not a wasteland. In Hong Kong, that would be a country park, a very nice forest or wilderness park.”

海南自诩为中国最环保的省份,在很多方面,这里的确像人们所赞誉的那样,是一个热带天堂,来自内地的旅游者可以真正呼吸到新鲜空气。但过去几十年的房地产开发及乱砍乱烧的农业,破坏了岛上的生态环境。与海南目前的许多高尔夫项目一样,观澜湖项目占用的主要是政府列为荒地的土地。但这只是意味着,这块土地要么从未被人使用过,要么不再被人使用。它没有考虑生态价值。“如果它们只是在真正的荒地上建设,就没有问题,”海南一位活跃的环保人士表示,“对我而言,毗邻海口的(观澜湖)地区并不是荒地。如果是在香港,那里可以成为一个郊野公园,一片非常美丽的森林或是一个原生态公园。”

This northern section of the Mission Hills land is less than 30 minutes by car from downtown Haikou and just east of a 108sq km national geological park built around the crater of an extinct volcano. Both properties occupy a region long known as the “lung of Haikou” for its green landscape and fresh air. Nearly three years ago, a Haikou-based pressure group believed it had secured around 825 acres of this land to establish a forest park that would help promote environmental awareness. Its members worked on the project for two years, winning the support of the government, attracting investors and brokering a land deal with local villagers. But suddenly in 2007, the villagers ended talks. And that is when the group's organisers first heard about Project 791.

观澜湖项目北区距海口市中心不足30分钟车程,西临一座围绕火山喷发口而建、面积108平方公里的国家地质公园。长久以来,由于其绿色景观和清新的空气,这两处地产所在地区一直被誉为海口的城市“绿肺”。大约3年前,海口一家游说集团以为自己获得了该地区约825英亩的土地,以修建一座森林公园,帮助增强人们的环保意识。其成员在项目上耗时两年,争取政府支持,吸引投资者,并以中间人身份安排与当地村民达成土地协议。但2007年,村民们突然中止了对话。就是在这个时候,集团的组织者第一次听说了“791工程”。

“They didn't even notify us,” a member of the group told me over a pot of Pu'er tea. “The government just told the villagers not to work with us any more. All the years working, the money, the energy, all wasted. It was a devastating hit. It broke our hearts, and we felt so small and insignificant. We knew we could never defeat them. How can you go against the government?” The group was warned not to do anything that might disrupt the Mission Hills project. In Hainan, a domestic non-governmental organisation is never truly non-governmental. A good relationship with the authorities is necessary for survival, and going up against golf, an industry thought to be lining the pockets of many a government official, would not be a wise move. At the Mission Hills site, one completed fairway has already been dubbed the “government hole” due to its popularity with local officials.

“他们甚至没有通知我们,”集团的一位成员对我说,我们中间隔着一壶普洱茶。“政府只是告诉村民不要再和我们合作。这么多年的工作、金钱和精力,都浪费了。这是一个毁灭性的打击。我们伤透了心,感到自己如此渺小和无足轻重。我们知道自己永远战胜不了他们。你怎么能和政府作对呢?”集团受到警告,不许做出任何可能妨碍观澜湖项目的举动。在海南,非政府组织从来都不是真正非政府的。与政府交好是生存所必需的,反对据信让众多政府官员中饱私囊的高尔夫业,不是明智之举。在观澜湖工地,由于颇受当地官员欢迎,一条业已完工的球道已经有了“政府球洞”的称号。

The lobby group member did not attempt to hide his frustration. “They call this ecological restoration?” he asked incredulously. “Sure, they might plant a few trees – but they also destroyed a mountain and turned it into a lake.” Ah yes, the mountain. It's true that while certain species of tree and shrub thrive on this volcanic landscape, the rocky earth is not suitable for most forms of farming. It is also not suitable for building and shaping golf courses, which require a couple of metres of topsoil. The solution? Mission Hills bought a “mountain” several kilometres from the construction site and started digging – until the mountain was a hole in the ground. A wagon train of trucks carted the red earth to the construction site, where it is stored in a huge flat pile that looks like an Arizona plateau.

该游说集团成员并不打算掩饰自己的沮丧。 “他们称之为生态修复?”他满腹狐疑地问道。“的确,他们或许会种几棵树——但他们也毁了一座山,将把它变成一座湖。”哦,是的,山。确实,尽管某些树种和灌木丛能够在这片火山地貌繁茂生长,但多岩石的土地并不适合多数农耕形式,也不适合修建和规划需要几米厚表层土壤的高尔夫球场。有何解决办法?观澜湖买下了距建筑工地几公里远的一座“山”,并开始挖掘,直到这座山变成地上的一个洞。成队的卡车将红土运至工地,堆积成巨大的平土堆,看上去就像是亚利桑那高原。

Like environmental protection, land ownership in rural Hainan is a particularly murky issue. Last year, in a town called Longqiao, villagers protested after discovering the great disparity between what Mission Hills had paid the local government for their land and the amount passed on to them. Some demonstrators flipped a government car, and military police were called in to disperse the crowd. Such public expressions of displeasure are often the only recourse for disgruntled villagers, who usually have no official documents to back up their claim to a piece of land. All they can do is yell – or congregate on fairways brandishing their sickles.

与环保一样,土地所有权在海南省农村也是一个非常模糊的问题。去年,在一个名叫龙桥的小镇,村民们发现观澜湖付给当地政府的买地钱与分到自己手中的钱数相差悬殊,于是发起了抗议。抗议者掀翻了一辆政府用车,政府动用武警驱散了聚集的民众。这种公开表达不满,常常是心存不满的村民唯一可诉诸的途径。他们通常没有正式文件支持他们对一块土地的权利主张。他们只能大声抗议,或者是聚集在球道上,挥舞着手中的镰刀。

Villagers, told that developers are merely renting their land for 50 years, see through the ruse and view this as their only opportunity to cash in. It happens throughout Hainan. At one course site I visited, locals had hastily built new homes in the construction zone in an effort to claim larger payouts. At another site, where villagers were being compensated for each grave that had to be moved, fresh ones began appearing every morning. Construction on the Mission Hills project was halted for several months in 2008 due to land disputes, and various dust-ups have caused the site's boundaries to change more than a hundred times since the planning process began.

村民们被告知,开发商只是租用他们的土地50年。但他们看穿了诡计,并将这视为大捞一笔的唯一机会。这在海南各地都有发生。在我探访的一处球场所在地,当地人在施工区匆忙修建新住宅,希望能索要更多补偿款。在另一处,每拆走一座坟墓,村民们都可获得补偿,于是每天早晨,都有新坟冒出来。2008年,由于土地纠纷,观澜湖项目曾停工数月之久,而自规划启动以来,各式各样的纷争已经让球场边界更改了上百次。

I spent two days hiking through villages around the Mission Hills site, trying to gauge the mood of the locals, who by and large were warm and friendly, quick to invite a stranger indoors or under a shady tree for a cup of tea or a piece of jackfruit. Most lived in hamlets laid out in maze-like fashion, with narrow stone paths weaving between single-storey, centuries-old homes, with walls of irregularly shaped pieces of lava rock and tiled roofs. More and more villagers are doing away with these old buildings, however, opting instead to use the money they have made by selling land to Mission Hills to build larger, multi-storey homes out of brick or cinder block.

我花了两天时间,在观澜湖工地周边各村转悠,试图准确把握当地人的心态。总体而言,当地人都非常热情友好,很快就会把一位陌生人请到家里或是树荫下去喝茶,或吃木菠萝。他们大多生活在迷宫一般的小村庄里,狭窄的石头小路纵横交织,两旁是一栋栋有数百年历史的平房,瓦片做顶,不规则的火山岩片为墙。然而,越来越多的村民正拆掉这些老房子,用卖地给观澜湖项目所得的钱,买来实心砖或空心砖,修建面积更大的楼房。

Near the perimeter of the golf site, I met Ma Jiguang, who two days earlier had opened a small shop a hundred yards from where labourers were building high-rise dormitories that would eventually house thousands of Mission Hills employees. Behind his one-room cement structure, the 37-year-old Ma had built a brick wall to mark where he felt his property ended and Mission Hills began. Other than his home back in the village, this was the only piece of land he had left.

在高尔夫球场工地外,我遇到了马继广(音译)。元旦后,他在这里开了一家小店,100码外,工人们正在修建高层宿舍楼——日后将容纳数千名观澜湖员工。在他只有一间屋子的水泥房后面,37岁的马继广修建了一道砖墙,以此作为自己的地产与观澜湖交界的地标。除了村里的房子,这是他剩下的唯一一块土地了。

“We had fruit trees, so I didn't want to sell,” Ma said, as weary-looking workers wandered into his shop in search of cold water and beer. “But they had already claimed it and measured it. What could I do? The government tells you the price and no matter if you are willing to sell or not, they take your land anyway. As an ordinary citizen, how can you fight the government officials?”

“我们有果树,所以我不想卖地,”马继广表示。这时,满脸倦容的工人们漫步走进他的商店,寻找冰水和啤酒。“但他们已经占了,测量过了。我能怎么办?政府告诉你一个价,不管你愿不愿意卖,他们都会把你的地拿走。作为普通老百姓,你怎么能和政府官员作对?”

Ma, like many I spoke to, said that despite the area's designation as wasteland, the nutrient-rich volcanic soil was ideal for cultivating fruit trees. The region's lychees were particularly famous and could fetch a good price at market. In all, Ma gave up 10 mu (a Chinese unit of measurement equal to roughly one-sixth of an acre) to the Mission Hills project and the government paid him around RMB200,000 (£18,000), a very large sum for the average Chinese farmer. But Ma knew that his land was worth more – Mission Hills, he claimed, paid the government five times what he had received for it – and he wasn't sure how he'd earn a living in the future without his orchard. Although some villagers were happy to sell because their land was rocky, Ma told me of one of his friends who had protested and refused. The next day, he claimed, soldiers had arrived at his friend's property and bulldozed his trees.

和许多我与之交谈过的人一样,马继广称,尽管这片地区被称作荒地,但肥沃的火山土壤很适合种植果树。当地的荔枝尤其出名,在市场上能卖个好价钱。马继广总共向观澜湖项目交出了10亩地,政府支付给他约20万元人民币。对于普通中国农民而言,这是相当大的一个数目。但马继广知道,自己的土地值更多钱——他声称,观澜湖付给政府的钱是自己拿到的五倍——而且没有了果园,他不知道自己将来该如何谋生。尽管一部分村民乐于卖地,因为他们的地里满是石头,但马继广告诉我,他的一个朋友曾表示过抗议,但遭到了拒绝。他声称,第二天,当兵的就来到他朋友的土地上,用推土机推倒了他的果树。

A car pulled up on the dirt patch in front of Ma's store. In walked a man in white shorts, a white golf shirt and flip-flops. It was Ma's cousin, Li Guanghua, a town-level government official. He assured me that Mission Hills Hainan was going to be bigger and better than the one in Shenzhen. “I have been to the Mission Hills in Shenzhen,” Li announced proudly. He and about 100 other town and village representatives had travelled there on a week-long expenses-paid trip before the land deals had been finalised.

一辆小汽车停在马继广小店门前的泥土地上,走进来一位身穿白色短裤,白色高尔夫球衫和夹趾拖鞋的人。这是马继广的表兄李广华(音译),一位当地镇级政府官员。他向我保证,海南的观澜湖将比深圳的更大更好。“我去过深圳的观澜湖,”李广华骄傲地说道。在土地交易最终敲定前,他曾与大约100名村镇代表到过那里,进行过为期一周的公费旅游。

“Do you want to have a look inside?” Li asked, gesturing towards the Mission Hills property. “I'd love to,” I said. “But will we be able to get past security? I hear it's pretty tight.” Li looked insulted. “Who can stop me?” he scoffed. “Who can stop the government's car?”

“你想进去看看吗?”李广华指着观澜湖所在地问我。“我很乐意,”我说。“但我们能通过保安吗?我听说管得很严。”李广华似乎受到了冒犯:“谁能拦我?”他不屑地说道。“谁敢拦政府的车?”

Alice Liu contributed to this story. Some names have been changed to protect identities. Dan Washburn is a Shanghai-based writer.

本文得到了Alice Liu的帮助。为了保护真实身份,文内一些人名进行了更改。丹•沃什本是一名驻上海的作家。

译者/何黎

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