Skeletons in the Golf Course

Editor’s note: We’re delighted to introduce a new monthly feature at the Channel, ‘Hidden Histories’ by Beijing-based rogue historian Jeremiah Jenne. Every month, Jenne will bring us a story, character or site from Chinese history that is too little known. For this first offering, his research took him golfing …


Qingnianhu is a typical Beijing park. Older women dance in ragged unison. The husbands chase after their grandchildren. A few folks are playing chess or cards. An artificial lake – covered in white fuzz every spring, the detritus of the city’s annual explosion of poplar and willow spores – is surrounded by a fitness path. A water park, complete with slides and wading pools, awaits warmer summer months.

“A bucket of balls is 150,” intones the bored looking teenager at the front desk of the Qingnianhu Park Golf and Fitness Club. I scan the payment QR code on my phone and trudge out to the driving range, which is enmeshed by steel pylons holding up a net. Somewhere out there, buried under golf balls and landfill, are bodies.