Sunday, June 26, 2011

Chinese Cargo Cult Mimicry: If We Build It Will They Come?

China is building a replica Alpine village in a grimy industrial city.

It hopes the chalets in the southern city of Huizhou will be sought after by homesick Europeans.

The village will be a £5.7billion copy of Hallstatt in Austria, complete with artificial lake. Posing as tourists, the Chinese have been photographing every building there for three years. _DailyMail
Hallstatt, Austria on Lake Hallstatt

Chinese developers have built other duplicate towns, based upon villages in the UK. Now a Chinese developer has gone to extraordinary lengths to mimic an Austrian mountain village, down to the boards on building exteriors. Something tells me that the Guangdong version of Hallstatt will not provide that same fresh, brisk, clean feeling as the original. the Chinese site, in the city of Huizhou about 100 miles north of the border with Hong Kong, there is little to indicate that the copycat version will ever approximate the beauty of the original.

A few low-rise buildings are in the early stages of construction, their frames covered with bamboo scaffolding and green mesh. Cranes and trucks moved around the area Friday dodging workers carrying steel construction elements.

Though the area is hilly, there was not an alpine peak in sight and the waters of a nearby lake - apparently the faux Lake Hallstatt to be - were green and murky. Instead of mirroring majestic alpine mountaintops, several dead fish floated on the surface. _DailyMail
The Chinese would do better to try to build a cleaner China, where people will want to go to understand both contemporary and historical China. Mimicking ancient European villages projects a feeling of desperate cluelessness and naivete.

First, build a better China, then if you want to build European village replicas, at least the air and water will be clean.

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