Abstract: Cultural-heritage tourism is nowadays a major force of economic growth, especially in economically lagging but culturally-rich western China. This article begins with a discussion of the prevailing “Qujiang Model” formulated in Xian, Shaanxi Province, and then looks into the model’s application in two nearby county-level cities. Each project is connected through the place to a famous historical or legendary figure, and each project is utilized as a precursory territorializing strategy for a larger cultural development scheme envisioned by the Qujiang Committee. Through two case studies, this article examines the strategy, territoriality, and effectiveness of historical “facts” that are deployed in each growth project. By looking into the rationale and means behind the construction of authenticity, the article examines the power restructuring and regional transformation in the process of carrying out historicizing projects. The article notes a distinct synergy between the nostalgic appeal of place and the romanticization of place in the media, demonstrating that storytelling, as opposed to establishing authenticity, plays a significant role in the Qujiang Model. From observing varied strategies for accumulating and mobilizing capital envisioned by the Qujiang Committee, further, this article argues the historicization of places in Shaanxi serves not only as an economic strategy but also as a territorial one centered on the local government’s authority to profit from land-related business.
Keywords: regional development, territoriality, historicization, Qujiang Model, cultural strategy, cultural theme park