A favorite pastime

A favorite pastime, Elosua Miguel

Mahjong (majiang - 麻将) parlor in a building about to be demolished in Chongqing. November 2013. The mahjong game is a favourite pastime in China. It often becomes an addiction. It is in Chongqing and Sichuan that mahjong rooms are ubiquitous (in Chongqing, they are frequently referred to as teahouses or chaguan - 茶馆, although nowadays the rooms are often fully dedicated to majiang tables). Mahjong parlors are run like a casino: every player needs to pay an entrance fee in order to take a seat and start playing. Once they start playing they can easily stay for more than four hours at the mahjong table. Many don’t have a formal job and play mahjong to earn extra money. However, it’s not rare to hear about players losing more than 20 thousand yuan in just one day.


Miguel Elosua

Spanish qualified lawyer; PhD in Chinese Law. UrbaChina Research Officer. Has lived in China since 2006.

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