Windswept islands offer peace, escape

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Pingtan in Fujian province is well known for its captivating landscape. [Photo by Weng Wucai/China Daily]

With villages of stone houses, flashing blue waters and wet sea winds, Pingtan, a group of remote islands off eastern Fujian province, hopes to welcome more tourists to experience its relaxing and simple lifestyle.

"The culture here is that of seamen-brave, rough and simple," said Fan Wenyun, an architect from Nanjing University.

Local people aged in their 60s or 70s get up at half past 6 every morning and rest at 5 in the evening.

In the old days, they used to catch fish, pick shells off the beaches and chat with neighborhood friends as part of their everyday routine, he said.

In Beigang village on Pingtan, gray stone houses line the mountains overlooking the beach. The light blue sea is calm, embracing the cluster of small islands.

Fan rented one of the houses and made it a space for reading and gathering, in an effort to protect the old memories.

The stone houses, with more than 100 years of history, have been passed down from generation to generation.

Few people had heard of the village and many of its young residents left to find work in big cities, that is, until 10 years ago.

"The buildings need to house people," Fan said. "If no one takes care of them, the rain will leak through the roofs, dampen the beams and finally shatter the building."

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