Rebirth of the Old Summer Palace: Chineseofficials spend ￡3billion on lavish replica of Beijing site which was sacked byFrench and British troops during opium wars
Chinese officials are spending more than￡3billion to build an exact replica of an imperial palace and garden that waslooted and destroyed by British and French troops more than 150 years ago.
The copy of Beijing’s Old Summer Palace, orYuanmingyuan, has opened to tourists at a film studio in the eastern town ofHengdian even though it is still under construction and facing threats of legalaction.
The replica is expected to be completed in 2016 and covers nearly 1,000 acresat a reported cost of 30 billion yuan (￡3.1 billion or nearly $5 billion withtoday’s currency exchange rates).
The investments are headed by the HengdianGroup, which is based in China’s Zhejiang province and has become one ofChina’s largest privately-owned companies.
Managers of the 18th century original in north-west Beijing – where somebuildings survived the fire or were refurbished – have threatened legal actionagainst the movie studio.
They have criticised the new version,saying the original site is ‘unique and cannot be replicated’.
In April, the original palace’sadministrative office told China’s state-run Xinhua news agency that theproject should be overseen by authorities – not a private company – and itshould be required to meet certain standards.
Xinhua reported that potential legal actionwould be based on intellectual property rights.
In 2007, Hengdian Group announced plans for the replica at its sprawling complex about 930 miles south of Beijing.
Company founder Xu Wenrong defended the project, saying it was an effort to educate China's younger generation about China's past rather than simply build a reproduction of the site, Agence France-Presse reported.
This isn’t the first time Hengdian WorldStudios has replicated one of China’s iconic landmarks. It has alreadyconstructed a full-scale replica of Beijing’s Forbidden City.
A808,Honolulu, United States, 8 hours ago
Love that wall of waterfalls! Beautiful.
Giles,North Yorkshire, United Kingdom, 4 hours ago
Meanwhile: Britain has a PaperBridge, atemporary piece of artwork located over a beck at the top of the GrisedaleValley....oh how times have changed.
carin2014,London, United Kingdom, 8 hours ago
A splendid replica showing how sumptuousthe palace was, quite fascinating, even for a commercial tourist attraction......not surprising there are the naysayers, but it would be a bad decision tostop mid production having got this far, hope it completes.