Chinese news portal CHINA.ORG.CN reported today that the controversial construction of a giant dragon inside Shizhu Mountain National Forest Park was halted by local government.
The local authorities of Xinzheng delivered a written statement to Xinhua which simply said, “We attached great importance to the project after the media reports. The departments of land, environmental protection, and other bureaus have ordered Zulong Company to halt the project because it does not have official approval.”
On learning of the local government’s decision, Li Shumin, president of Zulong Company, the private developer behind the project, told Xinhua that he was considering filing a lawsuit to retrieve the millions he had invested in the project, although he did not specify who exactly he planned to sue.
With this in mind, check out the prophetic words of journalist and blogger Chris O’Brien.
It is another example of the chaos that reigns far away from Beijing’s influence. Not even the local authorities know what is going on. Apparently, the project was halted for not going through the correct planning procedures back in 2003. Xinhua has reported that the dragon is already under threat as it appears to constitute a serious breach of environmental regulations. The local environmental department has only just managed to get out of the dark:
The Zhengzhou environmental protection administration said they had learned of the project through media reports.
And someone is of course lying:
A Henan newspaper quoted an official with Xinzheng City as saying the dragon is a business project and has nothing to do with the government. Zulong Company vice president, Li Xiong, told the media that the dragon project had support from the government.
Meanwhile, China looks like a crazy place to the rest of the world and the politburo has to find an excuse not to attend a 60th People’s Republic of China birthday party in Henan.
Well, at least Henan is looking a little like a crazy place as we speculated yesterday, but when we read Danwei’s article this morning our suspicions about Henan were confirmed.
Dai Songcheng, director of the Henan Institute of Culture, is quoted in these reports as saying, “Such an immense structure (Shizhu Mountain Dragon) on the mountaintop is disrespectful to Huangdi.” Incidentally, Zhengzhou is also home to the 106-meter high, 200 million-yuan statue of Huangdi and Shennong…
A dedication ceremony is scheduled for 18 April (2nd day of the 2nd lunar month).
Shanghaiist is a little puzzled as we thought Australia was the home of The Big things, but it looks as though China is well on its way to usurping that crown.
The Shizhu dragon was to be completed for the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China but now looks as though it could end up as some half-completed stone dragon white elephant.
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Picture taken from the China.org.cn website.