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 Sports

Prosecutors: No charges for NASCAR driver Kurt Busch

kurtbusch

Delaware prosecutors will not file criminal charges following allegations of domestic violence by his ex-girlfriend.

in Sports

2016 Rolex race to be first event at renovated Daytona

daytona

Daytona International Speedway will showcase its renovated motorsports stadium next January.

in Sports

A-Rod is back with the Yankees

rodriguez

The game was his first in 17 months following a drug suspension for the entire 2014 season.

in Sports

Thursday’s Sports Minute

spurs

A look at some of the big sports headlines making news today, Thursday, March 5.

in Sports

MLS, players avoid strike

sounders

The MLS season will begin on Friday as scheduled.