“If you are not satisfied with your life and don’t know why you have lost your smile; if you are unhappy and don’t like being where you are, go west – with Dali your destination.”

These lyrics form part of a song in the Chinese blockbuster movie Breakup Buddies, wh

ich was shot mostly in Dali, an attractive city in Yunnan province, and released in 2014.

The film inspired many middle-income earners tired of the hustle and bustle of urban life to quit their jobs in big cities and move to Dali.

However, unlike in Breakup Buddies, many people’s dreams of finding a

better life in Dali – which has provided the perfect backdrop for romantic trysts in hun

dreds of movies – have not had happy endings, and they are beginning to leave for a variety of reasons.

Chu Xiaogui, an author of popular books who moved to Dali from Beijing with her husba

nd in December 2015, said she had since witnessed many friends leaving and returning to their hometowns.

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