There’s often one country strongly associated with cheap counterfeits, from fashion items to game consoles – and that’s China.
But now the controversial country is making headlines for its carbon copies of iconic landmarks.
If you happen to take a trip to Suzhou in China’s eastern province of Jiangsu, you’ll be scratching your head thinking you’re actually in London because there’s a life-size replica of the British capital’s Tower Bridge, while at a construction site in Chuzhou there is a life-size version of the Egyptian Great Sphinx.
The latter is part of the Chuzhou Great Wall International Tourism Cartoon Creative Park site.
There is also an almost life-size replica of the iconic Parisian landmark of the Eiffel Tower, found in Tianducheng, Hangzhou, which is part of Zhejian province.
However, despite the plethora of iconic counterfeits, mostly found in outlying towns rather than main areas, the Chinese government has now demanded that no more be built.
Calling for local design to be promoted, a government statement said “plagiarism, imitation and copying” are banned in new public places.
Although the statement was released in April 2020, it was only reported this week.
A spokesperson said, “City buildings are the combination of the outer image and the inner spirit of a city, revealing the culture of a city.”
The government said it would carry out ‘urban inspections’ of new neighborhoods, while calling for a ‘new era’ of architecture to ‘build cultural confidence, show the characteristics of the city, exhibit the contemporary spirit and display Chinese characteristics”.
Other iconic copies include a copy of Moscow’s gold-domed complex in a housing estate in Beijing, a leaning tower of Pisa in Shanghai and an Austrian-inspired ‘old’ village in Huizhou, costing around £500m to build. sterling.
In the city of Taizhou in Jingyan, there is an Arc de Triomphe in the middle of a random road, while World Park in Beijing has a replica of the Sydney Harbor Bridge, complete with a fake Sydney Opera House.
And for those lucky enough to live in Thames Town, Songjiang New Town, you’ll find yourself in a London-themed village named after the River Thames.
The town is known for its popularity among newlyweds for their wedding photos, as most of the houses have been bought by wealthy people looking for a second home – it’s known to be something of a ghost town in because of that.
A huge increase in property prices in the area, due to its headline-worthy image, has also caused a dramatic lack of local interest in the area.
Rumor has it that the whole place could be bought up by the government, razed and rebuilt like a “normal” Chinese town, as most businesses and restaurants in the area have closed due to lack of commerce.
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