Hakka Missle Silos: Cold War Misunderstandings

(Last Updated On: March 11, 2019)

In the 1960s, at the height of the cold are, the US Military thought China had developed secret nuke bases.  These Hakka Missile Silos were actually clusters of round buildings ended up being the tulou homes of China’s Hakka People.

Hakka Missile Silos - actually round Tulou homes.
Hakka Missile Silos – actually round Tulou homes.

From China’s Jin Dynasty to the invasion of the Mongols, the Hakka people migrated as refugees from Northern China to the southern provinces. In Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian, and Hunan, the migrating clans found homes.

Hakka was a term of derision in Cantonese, meaning guest families. The minority group are also called Kejia. When the newcomers arrived, the Punti (or native Cantonese inhabitants), pushed them to less-than-ideal land to settle and eek out an existence. The two groups, rivals, fought clan wars in the 19th century. Eventually, the two groups inter-married and the term Hakka was adopted, by the newcomers as a form of self-reference. It now describes not only the people but their language, cuisine, and customs.

They built walled communities; families, and generations under one roof, on guard against other clans, bandits, and marauders. These homes dot the landscape of southern China. The Pentagon, looking at reconnaissance photos of the circular homes in Fujian province in the 1960s, thought them missile silos.

The Crane Lake Village, in the Longgang district of Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China, is a prime example of the communal dwellings built by the Hakka people. The Luo clan built the walled enclosure over three generations, finishing in 1817. The original village covered approximately 25,000 square meters and was protected by fortifications and guard towers. The families lived inside 300 rooms, divided but not separated from each other. The center of the complex holds an ancestral temple.

The site is now a protected historical relic and runs as the Hakka Folk Custom Museum. Once on a small lake, the village is now surrounded by apartment blocks and shops. The land once considered uninhabitable has seen a boom and grown up around the once grand estate.

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23 Comments

  1. Ron: Thanks. Maybe I’ll give the B&W a try. I’ve been playing with PS conversions. No HDR. These were shot with my old 400D and the “kit” lens. I’d like to go back now that I have better lens.

  2. It’s always nice to look at history. The pictures are good giving a clear insight into the lifestyle of Chineese. Can’t believe that this country has developed so much.

  3. Emily: Welcome and thank you for your comment. I do enjoy learning about history.

    Shawn: I have always wanted to visit the Alamo. Is it interesting?

  4. Great post for both info and photos. I haven’t stopped by for a few months so I’ll have to find time to dig through the archives. Something to look forward to.

    Thanks for your visit to my blog and for your comment.

    Got distracted for a second there and had to go see if the Craig Ferguson above is the late night TV host. Nope.

    Norm´s last blog post..Randomness

  5. While the photos are wonderful, what I loved most was the narrative. I truly enjoy learning about customs, old and new, and how they came about. Thanks for the peek into that part of Chinese history.

    Corina´s last blog post..Saving Memories

  6. Shawn: That’s a lot like my recent trip to a battlefield in Hong Kong. As we walked around it I couldn’t help but think of all the men that died where I was walking.

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