China’s government says two imposing tourist attractions are ‘vain and wasteful’ and must be rectified

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Beijing has ordered the “rectification” of two tourism projects that it branded vain and wasteful, including a gigantic statue of the Chinese war deity Guan Yu more than half the height of the Statue of Liberty.

The order was issued by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development last month and reported on the ministry’s website on Thursday.

The Shuisi Futang Building is a pile dwelling made from fir and pine wood. Photo: Weibo
The Shuisi Futang Building is a pile dwelling made from fir and pine wood. Photo: Weibo

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Besides the Guan Yu statue in Jingzhou in the central province of Hubei, the order named the Shuisi Futang Building, a 24-storey structure in the poverty-stricken Dushan county of southwest China’s Guizhou province, as a wasteful eyesore.

Both projects had huge investment poured into them by local government in the hope of attracting millions of tourists.

While the ministry’s order called for rectification, it did not specify if the local governments had to demolish the projects or just modify them.

The Guan Yu statue is part of a 1.5 billion-yuan (US$223.4 million) cultural park that was completed four years ago. The Shuisi Futang Building was finished a year ago at a cost of 256 million yuan.

A noted general in the Three Kingdom period (220-280 AD), Guan Yu is widely worshipped within China and among Chinese communities around the world. He fought one of his famous battles in Jingzhou.

The Jingzhou statue stands 58 metres (190 feet) tall and weighs 1,197 tonnes. The colossal figure – with Guan dressed in traditional robes and cloak and wielding his legendary weapon, the Green Dragon Crescent Blade – is so large that it sits on top of a 8,000-square metre (86,111 square feet) museum.

But the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development was not impressed. It said the mammoth statue “ruined the character and culture of Jingzhou as a historic city”.

Separately, the ministry also found the Guizhou project “losing touch with reality” and “failing to blend in with its natural surrounding”.

The Shuisi Futang Building, which took more than two years to build, is almost 100 metres tall and covers an area of 5,900 square metres.

The pile dwelling is constructed from fir and pine wood and covered by fir bark or tiles.

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