City halts red theme park plan

Updated: 2011-07-09 07:56

By Tan Zongyang (China Daily)

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$300m project 'not feasible', say officials in Chongqing

BEIJING - Southwest China's Chongqing municipality halted on Thursday a plan to build a Red Classic Theme Park that has sparked heated debate.

The park, which was planned to occupy more than 128 hectares in the city's Nanchuan district, would take the shape of China and display sculptures of the predecessors of the Communist Party of China, imitations of former leaders' homes and landmarks in China's red culture and its revolutionary history, according to the Chongqing Red Classic Investment Co Ltd, the main investor of the project.

According to the initial plan, the park would cost 2.5 billion yuan ($386.5 million) over the next four years before its completion. The investment would come from a private enterprise, Chongqing Evening News reported on Tuesday.

"The project has been stopped by the municipal government because the authorities thought it was not feasible," Li Jing, deputy director of the publicity department of Nanchuan district, told China Daily on Friday.

Li declined to give more details.

The project, which was announced right after the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China early this month, had stirred controversies because of its extravagant spending.

On the Nanchuan district government's website, a resident surnamed Liao posted a letter saying the money should be spent on more urgent needs, such as providing financial support for migrant workers or building more affordable houses.

"The city government should carefully conduct feasibility research and solicit public opinion before making a decision," Liao wrote.

Ren Chengmin, a 48-year-old resident, told China Daily she feels the park is unnecessary because there are already many red tourism sites, memorial squares and monuments in the city.

"I wish the government would build more small community parks for our leisure and sports activities, rather than a huge theme park," Ren said.

However, Jiang Guoli, a 54-year-old Chongqing woman, said she thinks it was a pity because the park could give another option for people to take a rest and learn about the country's past.

According to the plan, the park would have a 1,949-square-meter national flag and a 1,921-sq-m Party flag to commemorate the birth year of the People's Republic of China and the Communist Party of China.

"Those flags will help to pass on red culture and enhance the sense of national pride," Chongqing Evening News quoted Chen Xiaofeng, head of the company that invested in the park, as saying.

However, experts have raised questions about the social and economic benefits of the project.

Wang Guohua, a tourism expert at Beijing University of Technology, said he believed the park would not attract enough visitors to cover its expenses if it were built.

"Parks are for entertainment and should create a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere for the people instead of putting such emphasis on a history of wars and chaos," Wang told China Daily on Friday.

He said such a large-scale park would be a waste of land and money, and would also have maintenance difficulties in the future.

"The government did the right thing to abandon the plan," he said.

China Daily

(China Daily 07/09/2011 page4)


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