News

Residents: giant, $11M copper ‘puffer’ tower is fishy

Residents: giant, $11M copper ‘puffer’ tower is fishy

SHEER SCALE: A viewing tower in the shape of a giant copper puffer fish is seen under construction on the banks of a river in Yangzhong county, Jiangsu province Sept. 21, 2013. Photo: Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) – A Chinese viewing tower in the shape of a giant, copper puffer fish has raised an online huff about the latest in a series of bizarre and extravagant targets of state investment.

Encased in 8,920 copper plates and built at a cost of around 70 million yuan ($11.4 million), the tower on an island in Yangzhong county, eastern Jiangsu province, hovers 15 storeys above ground.

The government has often been criticized for wasteful investment to power the world’s No. 2 economy. Beijing acknowledges the problem and wants consumption to overtake investment as a driver of growth.

Residents who welcome the fish tower say it improves the county’s image. Less enthusiastic residents question whether such expensive and impractical buildings are needed.

“To spend so much money on something so meaningless, I really admire these ‘wealthy’ people,” Mother988 said on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, with apparent heavy irony.

The People’s Daily, the Chinese government’s main mouthpiece, acknowledged that the construction had polarized opinion.

“Once this giant puffer made its appearance, it caused a heated debate online,” it said.

Public records show Jiangsu’s local government bodies are the most indebted in the country.

Jiangsu says its debt is manageable, but took steps this week to rein in risk by announcing plans to control land sales, becoming the first Chinese government to do so.

Yangzhong aims to promote the tower as the world’s biggest metal construction in terms of volume, The People’s Daily said.

Central Henan province drew controversy in 2011 when a state-backed charity tried to build an eight-storey sculpture of Song Qingling, second wife of modern China’s founding father Sun Yat Sen. Construction was scrapped half-way through.

The eastern province of Zhejiang also came under the spotlight after it modeled one of its city court houses on Capitol Hill.($1 = 6.1 yuan)

Recent Headlines

in National

Bet you didn’t know: Fun facts about the Fourth

13-overlay

Even the most patriotic among us can learn something from these little-known facts about Independence Day.

in Entertainment

Filmmakers bet on ‘Monopoly’ movie

monopoly

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — “Monopoly” is going Hollywood. Lionsgate says it will turn the classic board game into a…

in Entertainment

18 All-American movies for Independence Day

top-gun-1986

Enjoy the holiday weekend with some classic American cinema.

in National

Stronger economy, cheap gas means more people on the road

gasprices

More than 40 million Americans are expected to hit the road for the long holiday weekend.

in Entertainment

‘Fatal Attraction’ coming to the small screen

11-overlay1

The 1987 thriller starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Close is set to be adapted for the small screen.