Nirvana in Fire, a Chinese TV series adapted from the eponymous novel, has not only sparked a nationwide conversation about its plot, actors and actresses, but has also caused a conflict among Anhui province, Jiangsu province and Shandong province.
Each of the three provinces claims to be the one depicted in Nirvana in Fire and wants to use the TV series’ popularity to attract tourists to its scenic spots.
Jiangsu province officials argue that Nirvana in Fire mentions the city of Jinling, which is Nanjing’s ancient name. Therefore, province officials say that Langya Mountain and Langya Ge – two important spots in Nirvana in Fire – are actually the mountains surrounding Qixia Mountain, a famous scenic spot in Nanjing.
But Shandong province officials claim that Langya Mountain and Langya Ge refer to Langya Terrace, a scenic spot in Qinghai, Shandong province. The TV series is produced by Shandong Film and Television Media Group. Hence, Shandong province officials say that certainly Nirvana in Fire’s plot was set in Shandong province.
More proactive than its other two competitors was the Management Council of Langya Mountain Scenic Spot in Anhui province. The council announced on Wechat that the story of Nirvana in Fire takes place in Anhui, and at the same time changed the name of Huifeng Ge, a pavilion in the scenic spot, to Langya Ge.
Huifeng Ge was first built in the Ming dynasty and initially named Huifeng Pavilion. But during World War II, the pavilion was destroyed. In 1988, China rebuilt it at its original location and named it Huifeng Ge.
Its name change to Langya Ge brought many tourists to the Langya Mount Scenic Spot in Anhui province.
“I am a fan of Nirvana in Fire,” one tourist who didn’t want to be named told The Paper. “I heard Huifeng Ge was renamed Langya Ge, so I immediately came here to visit and take pictures.”
Although the three provinces all claim to be the set for the Nirvana in Fire story, the TV series’ writer and scriptwriter Hai Yan has clarified that the story is actually fictitious.
It is common for Chinese scenic spots to be renamed after popular films, TV series or novels.
Nantianyizhu, a scenic spot in Zhangjiajie Scenic Zone, Hunan province, was renamed Hallelujah Mountain in 2010, inspired by the movie Avatar.
And the original name of Shangri-La, a popular place in Yunnan province, is Zhongdian. Shangri-La was a Chinese wonderland depicted in the 1993 novel Lost Horizon by British writer James Hilton. Hilton never specified whether the place exists in reality. However, in 1997, the Yunnan provincial government said Shangri-La was in Zhongdian, Yunnan province, and in 2002, renamed Zhongdian into its present name.
Renaming scenic spots aims to attract more tourists and profits.
“Still, it’s not clear how effective the name change can be,” Zhang Guangrui, a tourism professional, told cnr.cn, “If tourists cannot enjoy the best service when they are traveling, it is meaningless to rename the scenic spots.”