Paris on the Yangtze

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The Eiffel tower in Hangzhou. A French chateau just outside of Beijing. And the charming Austrian alpine village of Hallstat, plunked down in Boluo, a small town of less than a million people about an hour and half's drive from Guangzhou. Across the Middle Kingdom, replicasof famous Western monuments, landscapes, even entire towns are appearing at a frantic pace. Some argue the carbon copies are simply a manifestation of modern China's penchant for copyright infringement; others, that they represent an obsession with Western styles and tastes. But archaeologist Jack Carlson, writing in FP, argues it is only the latest example of a broader theme in Chinese history: co-opting duplicates from distant lands to demonstrate China's place at the center, and as heir to all the world's achievements. "Then, as now, the projects were intended to showcase China's own worldliness, wealth, and global supremacy," Carlson writes. Here are some of the most striking reproductions to arise out of this modern copycat wave.

Above, a woman braves the elements in front of a replica Eiffel Tower in the outskirts of Hangzhou, China, in September 2007.

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The sun sets over a colonnade at the Laffitte Chateau hotel in Beijing on June 10, 2012. The hotel is a multi-million dollar replica of France's Chateau Maison-Laffitte, which is located in a northwest suburb of Paris.

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Above, the French baroque style buildings of the Beijing Laffitte Chateau stands beyond the hotel's expansive courtyard.

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A luxurious dining room in the Beijing Laffitte Chateau hotel.

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A view of the Hallstatt village's replica in Boluo, about 60 miles northeast of Hong Kong in China's Guangdong Province. The original, located on the shores of the Hallstätter See in Austria, is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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A tourist poses next to a replica of the House wing of the U.S. Capitol building in the Beijing World Park.

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A pair of tourists spar in front of a replica of the U.S. Capitol building in Beijing.

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Chinese newlyweds walk past a statue of Winston Churchill in Thames Town, a replica British village located in Songjiang near Shanghai.

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A street view of Thames Town, with newlyweds posing for a photograph.

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