Passport

Austrian villages, made in China

Pop quiz: what do you do if you’re Chinese and you want to see a picturesque Austrian village? Go to Austria? Ha. China-based developer China Minmetals Ltd. has a better idea: go to that famous font of German tradition, Guangdong Province. Der Spiegel reports: An idyllic Austrian village has apparently impressed Chinese architects so much ...

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Pop quiz: what do you do if you're Chinese and you want to see a picturesque Austrian village? Go to Austria? Ha.

China-based developer China Minmetals Ltd. has a better idea: go to that famous font of German tradition, Guangdong Province. Der Spiegel reports:

An idyllic Austrian village has apparently impressed Chinese architects so much that they have decided to copy it in their own country. But the townspeople living in the UNESCO World Heritage site are unhappy about the plans.

Pop quiz: what do you do if you’re Chinese and you want to see a picturesque Austrian village? Go to Austria? Ha.

China-based developer China Minmetals Ltd. has a better idea: go to that famous font of German tradition, Guangdong Province. Der Spiegel reports:

An idyllic Austrian village has apparently impressed Chinese architects so much that they have decided to copy it in their own country. But the townspeople living in the UNESCO World Heritage site are unhappy about the plans.

Residents of the Austrian mountain town of Hallstatt, population 800, are scandalized. A Chinese firm has plans to replicate the village — including its famous lake — in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, Austrian media reported this week.

The construction of Hallstatt comes at a time when outbound Chinese tourism is skyrocketing, reshaping the landscape of global tourism. Tourism didn’t become legal in China until 1978, after Mao’s death. Nonetheless, the World Tourism Organization estimates that the total number of Chinese tourists traveling internationally could hit 130 million by 2020. A recent surge in Chinese tourists traveling to Europe has carved out a sort of Chinese "Grand Tour" with non-traditional destinations like Luxembourg and Metzingen, home of German suitmaker Hugo Boss. Still, Chinese citizens continue to travel plenty within their own country, making 2.1 billion domestic trips in 2010 alone.

China Minmetals’ ploy is only the latest instance of Chinese architects recreating European cities and towns at home. Shanghai has mini-replicas of Barcelona and Venice, while Chengdu has its own British Town modeled on Dorchester, a market town near the south coast of England. Guess those 40 Chinese UNESCO World Heritage sites (including the Kaiping villages in Guangdong, 120 miles from the proposed site for the Austrian transplants) just won’t cut it.

 Twitter: @ned_downie
Tag: China

More from Foreign Policy

Volker Perthes, U.N. special representative for Sudan, addresses the media in Khartoum, Sudan, on Jan. 10.

Sudan’s Future Hangs in the Balance

Demonstrators find themselves at odds with key U.N. and U.S. mediators.

In an aerial view, traffic creeps along Virginia Highway 1 after being diverted away from Interstate 95 after it was closed due to a winter storm.

Traffic Jams Are a Very American Disaster

The I-95 backup shows how easily highways can become traps.

Relatives and neighbors gather around a burned vehicle targeted and hit by an American drone strike in Kabul.

The Human Rights vs. National Security Dilemma Is a Fallacy

Advocacy organizations can’t protect human rights without challenging U.S. military support for tyrants and the corrupt influence of the defense industry and foreign governments.

un-sanctions-inspectors-china-foreign-policy-illustration

The Problem With Sanctions

From the White House to Turtle Bay, sanctions have never been more popular. But why are they so hard to make work?