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'Little gladiators: China’s cricket fighting'

October 11, 2013 - Ben Klein
Reuters Photographer Kim Kyung-hoon on how he stumbled upon China's cricket fighting:

"On a late summer day in Beijing while roaming through the narrow alleyways of an old pet market I heard the chirping of insects. It was such a refreshing sound on a stiflingly hot day. At one point, the chirping grew louder and louder, and my curiosity led me into one alley. There, I found countless little insects in bird cages and small jars on sale and waiting for their new owners."

On the "illegal underground cricket fight gambling market" and the man who even showers his crickets.

Reuters Photo Gallery: Cricket Fighting Competition

"As soon as his truck-driving job is done in the afternoon, he begins another busy routine in the cricket room. He has to feed his fighters with special meals he invented. He also gives them showers and fight training. His crickets are kept in special jars equipped with a bed, feeder and a water bucket. He also does not forget to mate his warriors with female crickets as he believes it helps the male fighters relax before the fighting. After his daily routine, he spends the rest of his time observing and selecting the best ones by looking at their color, listening to their singing and watching their movements. Only experienced handlers are equipped to do this, he says."

 
 

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