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

3 hours ago in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: May 24

paulgray16127583420372

A walk down Hollywood's memory lane.

4 hours ago in Sports

Sharks one game away from Stanley Cup

NHL Sharks via Twwitter

Joe Pavelski scored two goals, including the go-ahead score in the opening minute of the third period, and the San Jose Sharks beat the St. Louis Blues to take a lead in the Western Conference final on Monday night.

5 hours ago in Sports

Raptors tie the series with game 4 win

DeMar DeRozan 2 via Twitter

Kyle Lowry scored 35 points, including a driving layup in the final minute, and DeMar DeRozan had 32 as the Toronto Raptors evened the Eastern Conference Finals by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 4 on Monday night.

8 hours ago in Sports

Draymond Green fined, not suspended for groin kick

greenkick16144575143730

The league will instead fine Green and elevate the in-game foul from a flagrant 1 to a flagrant 2

12 hours ago in Sports

Rain delays start of play at French Open on Day 2

frenchopen704502155901

Showers over Paris on Monday have forced the organizers to delay the start of play by 1½ hours after only 10 out of 32 matches were completed on Day 1.

Bellingham Traffic