“Dwarf Empire” in Kunming, China

Thirty-five kilometers outside Kunming, in China’s Yunnan province, lies a butterfly ecological garden nestled on an artificial hill created by a Chinese entrepreneur. The main attraction on the hill though is not the butterflies but a group of performers taking part in a production called “Dwarf Empire” or “The Empire of the Little People”. Chinese entrepreneur Chen Mingjing opened the theme park in mid-2009, employing a number of dwarves to create the show, and he says to help the less fortunate by creating jobs for them. Despite criticism from diverse groups calling the whole idea “barbaric” and an “exploitation of less fortunate people”, both Mr. Chen as well as the employees, see it as a positive initiative which allows them to earn a living while not worrying about what others around them think.


“Dwarf Empire” cast members perform at the Dwarf Empire theme park outside Kunming, China’s Yunnan province, 04 April 2013. The Dwarf Empire theme park opened in mid-2009, employing a number of dwarves to create the show. Depending on what type of job they do at the park, employees earn between 800-2,000 CNY (100-250 Euros) per month, most of which goes towards their savings as lodging is provided, and their living quarters are equipped with kitchens where they prepare their own meals. (Photo by Diego Azubel/EPA)


A picture made with a tilt-shift lens shows “Dwarf Empire” cast member 19-year-old Han Zhen Yan posing in her fairy costume backstage outside one of the fairy tale-like houses at the Dwarf Empire theme park outside Kunming, China’s Yunnan province, 04 April 2013. (Photo by Diego Azubel/EPA)


Cast members of “Dwarf Empire” Yuan Hong Bing (C) and Zhang Jie Min (R) play with a volleyball as 19-year-old Han Zhen Yan looks on outside their dormitories next to the Dwarf Empire theme park outside Kunming, China’s Yunnan province, 03 April 2013. (Photo by Diego Azubel/EPA)


(L-R) “Dwarf Empire” cast members Han Gui Lan, 23-year-old Liu Jin Jin, 19-year-old Han Zhen Yan and Yin Zheng Xiong pose in their costumes backstage in front of the fairy tale-like village at the Dwarf Empire theme park outside Kunming, China’s Yunnan province, 03 April 2013. (Photo by Diego Azubel/EPA)


Staff member of “Dwarf Empire” Luo Gang (L) carries eggs to one of the shops inside the Dwarf Empire theme park before the start of the day outside Kunming, China’s Yunnan province, 04 April 2013. (Photo by Diego Azubel/EPA)


“Dwarf Empire” cast members gather for a head count after the day’s last performance at the “Dwarf Empire” theme park outside Kunming, China’s Yunnan province, 03 April 2013. (Photo by Diego Azubel/EPA)


“Dwarf Empire” creator Chen Mingjin (C) stands next to employees at the Dwarf Empire theme park outside Kunming, China’s Yunnan province, 03 April 2013. (Photo by Diego Azubel/EPA)


“Dwarf Empire” cast members 19-year-old Han Zhen Yan (L) and 19-year-old Peng Chun Song apply make up backstage before going to perform at the Dwarf Empire theme park outside Kunming, China’s Yunnan province, 04 April 2013. (Photo by Diego Azubel/EPA)


“Dwarf Empire” cast members prepare their dinner at the staff’s living quarters outside Kunming, China’s Yunnan province, 03 April 2013. (Photo by Diego Azubel/EPA)

<img src="https://designyoutrust.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/1027.jpg" alt="" title="10" width="650" height="434" “Dwarf Empire” cast member Liu Jin Jin (center in yellow, aged 23) and Chen Jiang Chuan (right in blue, aged 18) watch the performance at the Dwarf Empire theme park outside Kunming, China's Yunnan province, 04 April 2013. (Photo by Diego Azubel/EPA)


“Dwarf Empire” cast members relax in their dormitory next to the ‘Dwarf Empire’ theme park outside Kunming, China’s Yunnan province, 03 April 2013. (Photo by Diego Azubel/EPA)


“Dwarf Empire” cast member Lv Qiangyong poses backstage in front of the fairy tale-like village after his performance at the Dwarf Empire theme park outside Kunming, China’s Yunnan province, 04 April 2013. (Photo by Diego Azubel/EPA)


(L-R) “Dwarf Empire” cast members 21-year-old Du Zhuang, Zhang Jie Min, Li Ying’ An and 22-year-old Shu Chen Jiao are seen before going on stage at the Dwarf Empire theme park outside Kunming, China’s Yunnan province, 04 April 2013. (Photo by Diego Azubel/EPA)

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